This article goes out to all you athletic ladies out there. The WNBA, NWHL, NWSL, and other professional sports organizations are all leagues where women get paid for playing the sport they love full time. The National Women’s Hockey and Soccer League were founded relatively recently but are doing well as of now. Besides th
e fact that they aren’t as paid as much as some of their male player counterparts, these leagues are pretty much the exact same as their male counterpart leagues. Let’s get down to the cold hard facts. There are always those intense sports fans who will follow everything in a sport from offseason rumors/news, pre-season games, high school prospects, college games/prospects, regular season, and postseason. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m that way for football. I love watching all aspects from it, starting from youth football leagues (peep the show Friday Night Tykes which has been a show I absolutely love) all the way to the professional level. I’d even watch foreign football leagues in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe. One thing I’ve always wondered as an avid football fan, is why isn’t there a professional women’s football league?
I’ve heard of the Legends (Lingerie) Football League, and some other amateur football leagues as well but most of those players are not paid enough for football to be the main focus of their career. The LFL is probably the most well known women’s football league, but it’s only 7 on 7. The Independent Women’s Football League is one of the few leagues in the country that play 11 on 11 full contact women’s football. It’s time that a football league is made that represents women as strong and capable athletes. A league that can inspire a brand new generation of players like never before.
Off the bat let me tackle an arguement many people make when it comes to whether there should be a professional women’s football league or not. Some people say some things like “Women can’t play football, if they really could then why haven’t they played in the NFL yet?”. Using this logic they make the point that they should just join the NFL if they really want to play, disregarding any shortcomings they have. About 98% percent of men can’t play in the NFL, and that’s probably the same number when it comes to all professional sports league. Also I say this with as much love as possible, but physically women are just different from men. I really hate to say they’re physically inferior, but it’s obvious biology that women are different from men. I don’t believe there should be professional leagues that are co-ed, but I believe that a women’s professional league should exist. Football is a sport that I believe many women want to play and have the ability to play but don’t have that opportunity to do so.
For a professional women’s league to start a few steps need to taken first. The first one would be establishing women football teams in schools across the nation. I’m talking about starting in middle school all the way up through high school. Forget having girls play alongside boys, let’s give them a playing field that they can compete in against other girls who matter. I don’t see young ladies being forced to play on the boys basketball teams, or soccer teams being co-ed going into high school or college. I’m sure people will talk about problems between the lack of equipment, fields, and players available but if some Texas middle school teams can afford to have 4 boys football teams than they can afford to have one girls football team. Honestly, it will come down to who wants to be a gamechanger, and take a chance on this idea. As a future teacher and coach, I’d volunteer anything to make this thing happen. This step is the most vital step before a professional women’s league is created.
Once that first step is taken, there will be an overwhelming number of young ladies who will leave high school after playing football and crave more of it. Here is an interesting statistic to consider. As of 2016, the number of boys playing football has started to level off. Their were still 14,407 high schools with football teams in the nation with roughly 1,100,000 boys playing football. The decrease in participation can be credited to research being made about head injuries. Although the participation rate is dropping, the number of girls joining football teams has steadily been rising. In 2016, 1,964 girls played high school football which is the second most ever.
Every year there seems to be new stories about female american football players that further push the narrative of the lady football player. The first one that comes to mind is the running back phenom Sam Gordon. She played in youth leagues a couple years ago and impressed people with her speed and nifty moves. It’s worth noting she dominated against boys in this league as well. Also she became the first female football played featured on a Wheaties box which is awesome. Madeleine Northern is another football player that USA Football actually featured on an article and video. Her story was all about proving that she can hang with boys, and as far as I know she is still on her team back in Wisconsin. Then recently there was the story of K-Lani Nava who became the first girl to score points in a Texas high school state championship making 9 field goals. Besides the stories of these girls, I’ve also personally competed against girls when I played football as well. The point is, if they can handle playing against boys than I’m sure they can handle playing against other girls. Stories like this have and will continue inspire more young ladies to take up football.
Once football becomes more accessible for America’s young ladies in schools, than it’s only a matter of time before a professional league is started. If I had the money, influence, or power I’d start the league myself but I don’t. It’ll take many people to help put this together, and I do intend to help if the opportunity arises. If my future daughter wants to play football, I’d love if she could have that opportunity to do what she loves on the professional level. Women can play football, but they need the opportunity to play. All I’m saying is, what’s the worst thing that could happen?