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The Story behind Jen Welter the First Female NFL Coach

Updated on October 12, 2015

Football has always been considered a true male game, where everybody asked for blood and sweat. Allowing the opposite sex enter the football arena seemed impossible. However, last July, Arizona Cardinals made a groundbreaking decision and hired Jen Welter, a former football player in the Women's Football Alliance, as their assistant coaching intern. That way she became the first female coach in the NFL. But how did she get there?

From Florida to Texas, to Arizona

Jennifer Welter was born in Florida in 1977. Her professional football career in the WFA lasted for 14 years; most of that time she played for the Dallas Dragons and Dallas Diamonds. In February 2015, Texas Revolution, a current member of the CIF league, appointed her the coach of their linebackers. However, she soon got noticed by larger players (and coaches) and in July 2015 the Arizona Cardinals announced Jen Welter a member of their coaching team on the basis of a preseason coaching internship.


Education-enhanced experience

Although Jen Welter was a great player who had a successful career and even won two medals with the US female football team at the Women's World Championship, organized by IFAF, the public was filled with awe when she was chosen to join the Cardinals staff.

However, her resume reveals that she is not only an experienced former player, but also an incredibly educated sportsperson, with a deep background education. Her formal education includes the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. What is even more important, she is a holder of a PhD in psychology and a master's degree in sport psychology. She stresses out that her titles have helped her find her way with professional football player so far.


Pioneer in male sports

When the Cardinals decided to hire Jen Welter, the most important question was how the players were going to react to a female coach. She was not the head coach, but she was still a member of the coaching unit and she communicated with the players. However, there was nothing to worry about. Although she was with the team for only two months, the players accepted her for her knowledge of football and her unique coaching style, based on her knowledge of sports psychology and different view of the game itself.

During her time with the Cardinals, she broke the ice and showed that women can also be successful and appreciated football experts. It is something Jen is very proud of; read more about it here.


New coaching path in the aftermath

Although football fans were delighted to see Ms. Welter as the new face of the NFL, her story with the Cardinals ended with the last days of the preseason period. Her internship period came to an end, but according to NFL rumors, we might see more women in the NFL coaching teams in the time to come, due to such a positive reaction from the public and the players to Ms. Welter and her work.

Jen Welter's time with Texas Revolution and especially with the Arizona Cardinals proved that the line between male and female sport experts is getting thinner and thinner. Her efforts will result in even higher popularity of football and they will definitely give opportunities to other female coaches and other professionals.


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