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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 an otherwise male team.
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 – discuss]: 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.
Pop Warner estimates that girls make up one percent of its 250,000 registered players, or about 2,500 girls aged five to fourteen playing tackle football in an organization that makes up eight to ten percent of total youth football participation. If that ratio holds true for the estimated 2.5 million youth football players overall,[dubious – discuss] it would mean 25,000 girls playing tackle football at the youth level. Female-only youth leagues are growing in popularity, but are still far outnumbered by local youth programs that are male dominated.
Jessica Ciarrocchi: Starting Running Back, Linebacker and Free Safety. Played 4 years of Varsity Level Youth Tackle Football for the Marple Jr. Tigers of the Bert Bell Memorial Football League. First girl ever to start at Running Back and Linebacker/Free Safety in a Varsity Bert Bell Championship Game (110lb Division). Scored over 60 Touchdowns in her career and led her team in Rushing and Tackles every season played. Also started at Quarterback as well.
Sarah Crispin: Starting Middle Linebacker, Ridley Middle School, Pennsylvania. Started playing tackle football at the age of 7. U.S. national football team hopeful.
Mandy Davis: Starting running back and middle linebacker, Pleasant Grove Middle School, Alabama. Started playing in 7th grade for the first time.
Sam Gordon: Running back, Salt Lake City. Her play in a youth football league led to her becoming the first female football player featured on a Wheaties box.
Angelica Richards: Starting offensive tackle, Austin Road Middle School, Georgia. Started playing 7th grade for the first time.
Tristan Macznik: Wide Receiver and Cornerback for the Westfield Bombers, Plays flag football and tackle for the boys divisions.
Katy Parker: Wide Receiver and lineman for the Humboldt Kansas Cubs. Played boys division tackle football 2 years. Started in 7th grade and is about to start freshman year.
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.
Alexandria Buchanan, first female to complete a high school touchdown pass in Hawaii.
Breann Smith, Defensive End and Fullback at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School (1997-2001). On September 17, 1999 Smith, became the first female in the state to score a Varsity touchdown on a three-yard rush against Traverse City Central.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brooke Liebsch: Started playing on all boys tackle teams in 2009, and became Liberty (Missouri) North High School's first female quarterback in 2015. Recently lettered in football her Sophomore year. First female to make it to the U.S. National Development Games in Arlington Texas, July 2016. 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.
Erin DiMeglio: First female quarterback to see play in Florida high school football history
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.
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.
Trevion Borders: First female to play freshman football for Klein Oak high School in Houston, Texas.
Holly Neher: Gained notoriety in 2017 for being the first female in the state of Florida 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. 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. She is also believed to be the first female to do so in the entire state of Florida and possibly in the United States.
Maya Ochoa: Freshman wide receiver and safety at Creekview High School in Carrollton, Texas.
Evonnie Ramos: first Sophomore female to play JV football as a Left guard and special teams in Fort Stockton, Texas (Pecos County) 2015.
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.
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.
Chris'tal Smith earned varsity playing time as both a running back and defensive player at Wolfson High School as a freshman in 2017.
Bree Smith-Cheeks, defensive line player in Maryland.
Mackenzie Trotter: Sophomore safety at Wade Hampton Highschool in Greenville, South Carolina.
Anna Zerilli: Started kicking for Manchester-Essex High School, MA in 2015 and was the starting Varsity kicker for them. First female football player in North Shore and Cape Ann History and first female freshman to score in a Varsity game in American history. Currently playing Varsity football at Proctor Academy in New Hampshire. First New England female to sign to play college football. And will be kicking at Lake Forest College in Illinois next fall.
Grace Milstein: Started playing Tackle Football on an all boys team in 6th grade and continued to play until her Senior year at Novato High School. She was one of the first girls to play in California as both Receiver and Free Safety.
Donna Kay Johnson, first female to play on the middle school team at Central Baldwin Middle (2015) where she played defensive end, defensive tackle . She is currently a sophomore at Robertsdale High Al where she is again the first female player and plays Defensive end and 1st team long snapper for JV .
Madi Martin, first female on her high school's varsity football team at Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas. She played kicker in freshman year and sophomore year and is now playing cornerback and safety.
Julia Knapp: She played kicker for the South Iredell Vikings in the 2017/2018 football season and was crowned homecoming queen.
Holly Neher, a 16 year old, 5-foot-2 junior that played quarterback for her high school varsity team, the Hollywood Hills Spartans in the 17/18 season. In her first varsity game she threw a 42-yard touchdown.
K-Lani Nava, a senior at Strawn High School, kicked 9 extra points for a 78-42 win against Balmorhea High in the 17/18 fall season.
Kelly Macnamara joined the football team as a kicker during her sophomore year at North Penn High School
Madeleine Northern: A freshman quarterback in 2016 at Badger High School in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. In a pre-season practice, she dislocated her elbow, so she was unable to play for the majority of the season.
Erin Demeglio is the first girl to ever play quarterback for a Florida high school team. She was a senior at South Plantation High School in 2012.
Kaylee Foster kicked the winning extra point for Ocean Springs Highschool in overtime after winning homecoming queen.
Sydney Baldwin: A sophomore kicker, first girl to play football for Division 5A J.L. Mann High School in Greenville, South Carolina. Starter on varsity team.
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. Both positions are usually protected from the full contact present in American football.
Jennifer Welter: first woman to play a non-kicking position in a professional football league made up predominately by men. (2014)
Danielle Curtiss (2016-present) plays Center, Defensive Tackle, Nose Tackle and Special Teams in Men's Semi Professional Football. Has played for West Coast Lions, Los Angeles Wolfpack, California Ducks in the PacWest Semi Pro League in Southern California. Only known female to play full contact linemen positions in predominantly Men's league. In her first season with West Coast Lions Danielle played primarily on kickoff and kick return, however, she saw some time at Defensive Tackle and made both solo and assisted tackles.
In predominantly women's leagues
Players in traditional ("full pads") tackle football leagues
Malissa Miles: Wide receiver, Los Angeles Temptation, LFL (2016-present:Active Roster). Trained and coached ABC's The Bachelorette contestants in 2018 season. Founder of Miles Strong Youth Football Foundation, which specializes in teaching girls how to play football.
Rae Hodge: Kicker/wide receiver, Pittsburgh Powderkegs (1971). One of the first two women inducted into the American Football Association Hall of Fame.
Linda Jefferson: Running back, Toledo Troopers (1972-1979). One of only four women inducted into the American Football Association Hall of Fame. Named the 1975 Athlete of the Year by womenSports, the first magazine dedicated exclusively to covering women in sports. Seven-time national champion (WPFL, NWFL); posted five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons rushing.
Anita Marks: Quarterback, Miami Fury (2000-2002), Florida Stingrays (2003). Television and radio sports reporter/commentator.
Yekaterina Pashkevich: Running back, New Hampshire Freedom (2002-2006) and Boston Rampage (2007). A charter member of Russia's first women's national hockey team. Olympian for Russian Federation women's hockey team (2002, 2006, 2014).
Barbara Patton: Linebacker, Los Angeles Dandelions (1973-1975). Mother of NFL linebacker Marvcus Patton.
Whitney Zelee: Running back, Boston Militia/Renegades (2011-present). In 2013, eclipsed the 2,000-yard benchmark and set a new record of 2,128 rushing yards over an eight-game season, earning her conference MVP honors. Holds WFA record for most touchdowns in one game (8 vs D.C. Divas on May 18, 2013). Two-time WFA National Champion and game MVP (2011, 2014).
Kathryn Smith: first full-time female NFL coach (Special Teams Quality Control Coach, Buffalo Bills, 2016).
Katie Sowers: second full-time female NFL coach (Seasonal Offensive Assistant, San Francisco 49ers, 2017-). First openly LGBT NFL coach. She previously was an Assistant Coaching Intern for the 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.
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.