Football was once called the final frontier for women in sports, and it was that game that changed the life of Dr. Jen Welter. Through her dedication to the sport, Jen went from playing football for $1 per game, to becoming the first female to coach in the NFL. In the summer of 2015, she served as a linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals, a period of time defined by the bond she has formed with the players. Widely known as a trailblazer and pioneer in professional football, becoming the first woman to coach in the NFL was only her most recent first. In 2014, Welter became the first woman to play running back in a men's professional football league. In early 2015, Welter was hired as the first female coach in men’s professional football, helping coach the most successful Revolution season in franchise history. Prior to joining the world of men’s professional football, Welter had a highly decorated 14-year career in Women’s professional football which included 4 National Championships and 2 Gold medals as a member of Team USA in the 2010 and 2013 International Federation of American Football’s (IFAF) Women’s World Championship (WWC). In 2017, Welter will return to the IFAF WWC, but this time, not as a player, Welter will serve as the Head Coach of the Australian Women’s National Team.
Coach Jen is committed to increasing access and opportunities in football. In the summer of 2016, Coach Jen was the spokesperson and mentor for the launch of Play 60 in Canada. To empower women through football, Coach Jen designed her signature program, “A day in the life of a football player” Working with the Women of Washington (WOW) Redskins female fan club, this experience launched on December 3, 2016. Welter envisions this as the first event to kick off a movement bringing women into the game, by getting them out on the field.
As an individual credited with breaking one of the toughest barriers in sports, Dr. Jen’s impact has transcended the football. Beyond the sidelines, Dr. Jen is the ultimate student-athlete who holds a doctorate degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Sports Psychology, and a Bachelors degree from Boston College. She is best known for bringing fresh insight resulting from her unique perspective as an athlete and scholar, as a sports consultant, speaker, and most recently, an author. To complement her work on the field and share insight through her remarkable journey, Coach Jen just finished writing her first book, “Play Big, Lessons in Being Limitless from the First Woman to Coach in the NFL” published by Seal Press hitting the shelves on October 3, 2017.
From shaking up the NFL, establishing a genuine rapport with her linebackers, and making national news as the “noteworthy coach,” to opening up the game of football to women and young girls, and empowering a new perspective of thinking through sport psychology, Coach Jen continues to make an undeniable impact on the sports world.
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