On Saturday, September 28th, nearly 200 girls from all over New York attended the Jen Welter Girls Flag Football Camp in Staten Island. The camp was one of eight stops around the United States on Jen Welter’s Fall 2019 Tour.Welter, who was the first female to coach in the NFL, runs these camps to teach young girls the game of football.
Welter’s camp, sponsored by Adidas, debuted in 2015 with the Washington Redskins Women’s Program.Thereafter, the event has grown, to where she now instructs children in eight cities across the country.
Welter’s first coaching job in the NFL was for the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.She also received a gold medal with team USA at the IFAF (International Federation of American Football) Women’s World Championship in 2010 and 2013.Also, back in 2014, Welter signed with the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League as running back, where she made history as the second woman to play in a “contact” position in a professional male sport.More recently, Welter was a defensive specialist for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football (AAF).It was recently announced that Welter will be featured as the first female coach in the popular video game, Madden NFL 20.
The Staten Island event was held at the Moore Catholic High School from 12pm to 5pm. At the event, the girls did rotational drills where they went through passing, receiving, offense-defense drills, and ended the day with a scrimmage.
A special guest, former New York Jets Fullback, Tony Richardson surprised the girls at the event.He helped coach the girls with their drills and took photos with them.Richardson also spoke about his personal experiences in football from his childhood to his seventeen years in the NFL.He also joked about how he looks forward to seeing the girls in the NFL one day, and hopes one of them could be a kicker, “because the Jets certainly need one.”
Throughout the event, Welter proved to be an inspiration and strong motivational force to the girls.From the start, Welter asked the question “How many of you have been told you shouldn’t play football?”When the girls responded in unison “Me!” Welter responded, “Well let’s show them that you belong!”
Guadalupe Gonzalez (17) from Brooklyn, New York was excited to be “playing defense.” She stated, “I usually do (play) corner, but I want to try maybe linebacker.” Similarly, Shannon Grech (17) from Queens, New York explained that she was excited to “scrimmage with the other girls from different schools, see how they really play, and learn stuff from them.” Two girls, Juliana Laquinta (15) and Victoria Rosas (15) from Staten Island explained how their coach sent them the waiver for the event and “automatically we (they) were like let’s go.” One of the girls then explained how she began playing football and it was because of her neighbor, Joe.She stated how they played outside every day “and he made me get better and better, until I just really wanted to play.”
In addition to a great experience, each girl left the event with an Adidas backpack, and a Jen Welter tee shirt.
Perhaps Victoria Rosas said it best when asked “Why football?”She responded, “I love it!”