From Callie Brownson to Katie Sowers, there are well-known women who recently secured coaching jobs in the NFL. They, along with others, can thank Jen Welter for creating the path and blazing a trail. In 2015, Welter earned a job with the Arizona Cardinals, becoming the first women’s coach in NFL history.
“I remember people would say, ‘You’re living the dream, you’re coaching in the NFL and I would quickly have to correct them and say, ‘No, this is a dream I was actually never permitted to have’. But the beauty of this is now, other girls can have this dream because there was nobody I could look at and say, ‘I want to be her one day.’”
Welter, who earned a PhD in psychology from Capella University in Minnesota, last coached professional football as a defensive specialist for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football in 2019. No matter what league she’s in or what job she holds, Jen Welter understands her role as a leader in sports and society.
“It’s not just being an ambassador, it’s who I am. It’s who we all need to be as women in sports and understand that we can do better for each other.”
Welter authored “Play Big: Lessons in Being Limitless from the First Woman to Coach in the NFL,” which reveals the grit it took for her to shatter the gender barrier in the NFL. She knows there is still much to do to get to equality.
“There are not enough visible role models right now because we don’t give the same platform to women and girls in sports. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but there’s just not enough.”
An important reminder that there is more work to be done. Rest assured, Jen Welter will continue to lead on and off the field.
Photo credit: Instagram