List Of Female American Football Players

Women's gridiron football, more commonly known as women's American football, women's Canadian football, or simply women's football, is a form of gridiron football (American or Canadian) played by women. Most leagues play by the same rules as their male counterparts, with one exception: women's leagues use a slightly smaller football. Women primarily play on a semi-professional or amateur level in the United States. Very few high schools or colleges offer the sport solely for women and girls; however, on occasion, it is permissible for a female player to join the otherwise male team.

The first evidence of women playing organized football was in 1926. It was then that an NFL team called the Frankford Yellow Jackets (the predecessors to the modern Philadelphia Eagles) employed a women's team for halftime entertainment.The following is a list of notable female American football players who have either played for predominantly men's American football teams at the youth, high school, college, or semi-professional levels, played in the Legends Football League, or played in traditional women's tackle football leagues such as the Women's Football Alliance, Independent Women's Football League, and Women's Spring Football League.

Notable women who presently play or have previously played American football are included on this list.

Female football players

Of the women who have seen action in men's college and pro football, almost all have been in special teams positions that are protected from physical contact. The first professional player was a placekick holder (a traditionally trivial position usually occupied by a person who holds another position on the team), while the best known female college football players were all placekickers, with all having primarily played women's soccer prior to converting.

Patricia Palinkas is on record as being the first female professional football player, having played for the Orlando Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Football League in 1970. Palinkas was a placekick holder for her placekicker husband.

On October 18, 1997, Liz Heaston became the first woman to play and score in a college football game, kicking two extra points. Prior to this game, female athletes at Duke and Louisville had come close to playing in a game but did not. In 2001, Ashley Martin became the second female athlete to score in a college football game, this time in the NCAA.

In 2003, Katie Hnida became the first female athlete to score in a Division I-A bowl game; she later became the second professional player when she signed with the Fort Wayne FireHawksJulie Harshbarger, a placekicker for numerous Chicago-based Continental Indoor Football League teams, became the first female player to win a most valuable player award in an otherwise all-male league in 2014; by kicking five field goals that season, she earned the title of special teams player of the year, leading all kickers in the league in scoring. Jennifer Welter became the first female skill position player at the male professional level by playing as a running back in the Texas Revolution in 2014.

Brittanee Jacobs is the first female football coach at the collegiate level. She helped coach safeties at Central Methodist University during the 2012 season. Welter would become the first female coach at the professional level when she took a preseason position with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015; a year later, Kathryn Smith, who had spent several years as a front office assistant, took a quality control coaching position with the Buffalo Bills, making her the first permanent female coach in National Football League history.

To date, only one woman has ever attempted to join the NFL[dubious ]: Lauren Silberman, who received a tryout to a scouting combine in 2013. Silberman had never played the game before and botched her tryout, leading observers to assume the tryout was a publicity stunt.

Youth

Pop Warner estimates that girls make up 1 percent of its 250,000 registered players. That's 2,500 girls ages 5 to 14 playing tackle football in an organization that makes up 8 to 10 percent of total youth football participation. Applied to the estimated 2.5 million youth football players, that number grows to 25,000 girls playing tackle football at the youth level. Female only youth leagues are growing in popularity but are still far outnumbered by the local youth programs that are male dominated.

  • Sarah Crispin: Starting Middle Linebacker, Ridley Middle School, Pennsylvania. Started playing tackle football at the age of 7. U.S. national football team hopeful.[1]
  • Mandy Davis: Starting running back and middle linebacker, Pleasant Grove Middle School, Alabama. Started playing in 7th grade for the first time.[2]
  • Sam Gordon: Running back, Salt Lake City. Her play in a youth football league[3] led to her becoming the first female football player featured on a Wheaties box.[4]
  • Angelica Richards: Starting offensive tackle, Austin Road Middle School, Georgia. Started playing 7th grade for the first time.[5]

High school

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there more than 1,900 girls who played high school football in 2016. For years, the number of high schools with football teams and the number of high school children playing football grew at a steady rate. But recently, participation leveled off and even began to go down, except for one group: high school girls.

  • Beth Bates, a Williamsburg,_Kentucky High school junior in 1982, became the first woman in Kentucky to score in a high school football game, kicking five extra points.[6]
  • Alexandria Buchanan, first female to complete a high school touchdown pass in Hawaii.[7]
  • Savana Melton (Varsity Kicker-Sophomore,Junior,and Senior): North Little Rock, Arkansas, High School 7A - 2nd highest scorer 2015 (56 points); 2016 (89 points). 42 yard Field Goal at Conway High School 2016. First girl to play and score in a 7A State Championship game 2016. First female to be selected to All Arkansas Preps and ArkansasVarsity football teams 2016. Arkansas Activities Association Record Book: Consecutive Extra Points Career (leader with 68) and Miscellaneous - first female to play and score in a state championship game 2016. Leading scorer freshman through junior seasons in varsity soccer and selected to All Arkansas Preps for soccer 2016. All Conference in Soccer and Track. http://www.hudl.com/profile/5561854/savana-melton http://members.ahsaa.org/public/userfiles/Media/recordbook1617.pdf
  • Heather Darrow: In 1986, Darrow became the first female athlete in the state of Tennessee to score a point in a high school football game.[8]
  • Eleanor Jones: Former Kicker for the Scappoose Indians in Oregon. Kicked for the Varsity team while simultaneously playing for the school's Women's Varsity Soccer team.[9]
  • Samantha "Sami" Grisafe: First girl in California to play quarterback in a Varsity Division I High School Football game in 2000 at Redlands High School. Named captain of Redland's High School's Freshman Football Team in 1999. Inducted into the Redlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014 for her accomplishments in Varsity Football, Softball, and Volleyball.[10][11]
  • Brooke Liebsch: Started playing on all boys tackle teams in 2009, and became Liberty (Missouri) North High School's first female quarterback in 2015.[12] Recently lettered in football her Sophomore year. First female to make it to the U.S. National Development Games in Arlington Texas, July 2016.[13] March 2017 at the age of 16 registered with the WFA Women's Football Alliance. 2017 Rookie starting quarterback for the KC Titans Women's team. First year playing she took her team to the first round of the playoffs. She also understands her role and knows that a lot of little girls look up to her for what she does, and she consciously takes time to encourage & motivate them. This year will be her second year attending the KC Chiefs Play 60 Event for the Girl Scouts.
  • Wanda Ballou: First girl in Ohio to play boy's JV & Varsity High School football 1989-1991. Wanda was starting wide receiver and Safety. At 5'7 and 130lbs, she was fast with great hand skills, a force to be reckoned with.[14]
  • Erin DiMeglio: First female quarterback to see play in Florida high school football history[15]
  • Theresa Dion: First female to play on a boys high school varsity team in the U.S. when she played for Immaculate High School in Key West, in 1972, as a placekicker.[16]
  • Anastasia Hooker: First female in Indian River County, Florida to score a point or points in a High School Football game. During the Sharks JV team's October 9, 2014 game, Anastasia, No. 9, kicked a 24-yard field goal on her first attempt. She also was the 1st to score a varsity point by converting a PAT. The 17-year-old junior was named "Offensive Player of the Year" as a Freshman on the school's Varsity soccer team and plays travel soccer for the Brevard Soccer Alliance U-18 State Cup team.[17]
  • Trevion Borders: First female to play freshman football for Klein Oak high School in Houston, Texas.[18]
  • Tami Maida: Junior varsity quarterback at Philomath High School in Philomath, Oregon. In 1981, she became the first known quarterback to also become homecoming princess, and her story was the basis of the CBS movie Quarterback Princess starring Helen Hunt as Maida.
  • Holley Mangold: Played high school football as an offensive lineman; younger sister of NFL offensive lineman Nick Mangold. She also competed as a weightlifter in the 2012 Summer Olympics
  • Holly Neher: Gained notoriety in 2017 for being the first female in the state of Flordia to throw a touchdown in a high school game, a feat she accomplished on her first pass play and third total play. The touchdown was a 42-yarder.[19] After starting the second game, Neher became the first girl to start a high school varsity football game at quarterback in the history of Broward County, Florida.[20] She is also believed to be the first female to do so in the entire state of Florida[21] and possibly in the United States.[22]
  • Maya Ochoa: Freshman wide receiver and safety at Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas.[23]
  • Evonnie Ramos: first Sophomore female to play JV football as a Left guard and special teams in Fort Stockton, Texas (Pecos County) 2015.[24]
  • Luverne "Toad" Wise: Kicker for the Atmore (now Escambia County) Alabama High School Blue Devils in 1939 and 1940, first female to score in an American football game.[25]
  • Jessica "Lil' Bulldog" Schultz: Fifteen year old, 4'11", female sophomore played fullback, outside linebacker, and special teams, with the male varsity team for Jellico, TN, Blue Devils. She scored the first rushing touchdown by a female in 1998. Jellico v. Williamsburg.[26]
  • Chris'tal Smith earned varisty playing time as both a running back and defensive player at Wolfson High School as a freshman in 2017.[27][28]
  • Bree Smith-Cheeks, defensive line player in New Jersey.[29]
  • Mackenzie Trotter: Sophomore safety at Wade Hampton Highschool in Greenville, South Carolina.[30]
  • Becca Longo, kicker who became the first woman to earn a college football scholarship to an NCAA school at the Division II level or higher and signed a letter of intent with Adams State University.[31]
  • Anna Zerilli: First female freshman kicker to score at the Varsity level in American History. Started kicking for Manchester-Essex High School, MA in 2015 and is currently playing for them. First female football player in North Shore and Cape Ann History. http://www.gloucestertimes.com/sports/local_sports/trailblazer/article_9133c561-c4e0-5ca3-b4d8-c11922fdb141.html

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/high-schools/2017/10/19/emass-girls-gaining-acceptance-gridiron/UsbCrZ7kBBgW14LDLdd2bM/story.html?event=event25 (Information founded by Cape Ann Kicking Academy)

  • Grace Milstein: Started playing Tackle Football on an all boys team in 6th grade and continued to play until her Senior year in high school. She was on of the first girls to play in California as both Receiver and Free Safety.[32]

College

Almost all of the women who have played on predominantly male college and professional football teams have done so by playing either the placekicker or holder positions.[33] Both positions are usually protected from the full contact present in American football.

Semi-professional

In predominantly women's leagues

Players in traditional ("full pads") tackle football leagues

Other notable women in football

Coaches

Commentators

  • Erin Andrews: FOX Sports reporter for NFL[66]
  • Jane Chastain: First woman to provide color commentary for a National Football League game
  • Robin Roberts: ESPN commentator and reporter
  • Beth Mowins: ESPN college football and NFL play-by-play announcer
  • Gayle Sierens: First woman to call play-by-play for a National Football League game
  • Pam Ward: First woman to call play-by-play for a nationally televised college football game

Front office staff

Owners

On a per capita basis, women have somewhat greater representation in professional football's ownership than in other fields; this is in part due to widows and daughters of deceased owners receiving NFL teams as part of an inheritance.

Referees

  • Sarah Thomas: First permanent game official in professional football (UFL 2009, NFL 2015)
  • Shannon Eastin: First woman to officiate an NFL game (2012)

Fictional

As an additional supplement to the list, noteworthy fictional appearances of women in football are provided.

See also

References

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External links


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