36-Year-Old Woman – First Woman to Play a Contact Position in a Men’s Pro Football League 02/26/14
February 26, 2014
Odessa - A 36-year-old woman is making headlines after becoming the first woman to play a contact position in a men’s pro football league. The football team is in Allen Texas near Dallas, but has some strong ties here in West Texas. The Indoor football league’s, Texas Revolution, has made national headlines, by bringing a woman onto the field. The coach however, was here first, coaching the West Texas Roughnecks for eight years.
Standing at just five foot two inches, 130 pounds, Jennifer Welter is making a name for herself. “The guys have really just welcomed me in, and the longer we wait, the better they got because they just really saw that I was a true football player and how much I love the game,” said Texas Roughnecks Running Back Jennifer Welter.
The coach, Chris Williams, former coach of the roughnecks in Odessa, says the team was a little nervous about welcoming Welter onto the team. “She wanted to try out for me to make a statement, you know, that women like the game of football too. I think the players when they came in, they wanted to be sure that she was able to play on the team,” said Williams
“They were supportive from the beginning, but you know until they saw me really take a hit, they were kind of being good sports I think,” said Welter.
Jen has a long past of contact sports, she began playing rugby at Boston College, and moved on to play Women’s football as a linebacker, number 47 for the Dallas Diamonds. Welters says since grade school she always knew that playing football is where she belonged. “All my best friends were cheerleaders, and they used to laugh and be like, you would be so good, you’re so strong. My response was, I would drop you on your head because I would be watching football. I mean this isn’t an anti-cheerleading thing, I’m just a football fan.”
As you can imagine, doing something out of the ordinary brings a lot of critics. “Even if you’re one of the best in the world, there’s always a winner and a loser. So at the end of every game, the best you can hope for is that half the people in the stands love you, because half are always going to hate you regardless,” said Welters.
Welters is also very successful off the field, she has actually earned a PhD in psychology, and in case you’re counting, her team last Saturday actually won 64 – 30.