Jen Welter follows through on football dreams

(News4usonline) – There are many women out in the world who are making things happen and changing the landscape of their environment. Dr. Jen Welter is one of those individuals. Welter is a world champion. She is a groundbreaker. A history maker. Building on the women empowerment theme, Welter is also a public speaker.

Her passion, however, lies in talking and breathing football, something she has done for decades. Welter’s pathway achievement is being the first woman to earn a position as a coach for an NFL franchise.

Welter came upon her claim for fame when she was tapped to coach linebackers as an intern with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015. Though she is not coaching in the NFL, Welter is still making noise on the football field.

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Welter is currently a coach with the Grrridiron Girls, a flag football camp for girls and former NFL players. Welter says that her time coaching football to girls has been great, adding that she absolutely loves coaching them and she “would do anything in the world for them.”

As far as her stint working as a coach in the NFL, Welter said there was a lot to overcome.

“It was crazy and awesome,” Welter said. It’s a lot of watching film.”

What made Welter become so passionate about the game of football?

“The love of the game is just a really special game, and for me, it was a game that we were always told as women that we couldn’t play, that wasn’t for us,” Welter said. “To be able to play football, not only changes the sport, but it shifts culture through the sport. To me, it was never okay that American football was only for a certain part of the population and that girls didn’t have the right to play and have the opportunity.”

As wonderful of an opportunity it was coaching in the NFL, Welter revealed her thoughts on the pros and cons of coaching in the league.

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“You have to love coaching,” said Welter. “It’s not something you get into lightly. The players will tell you that the hours are long, but the coaches are putting hours long before and long after the players. So that’s the hard part. it is watching tape of watching tape. You are literally watching tapes of practices to prepare your team for the next practice.

“It is an art and a science all at once,” Welter added. “The days are long and a lot of the work is done when nobody’s watching. Most people see the drill time on the field and think that’s the whole of the job and it’s really not. It’s a lot of time on tasks, it’s a lot of time on tape and that is what is tough.”

As a coach, Welter has worked on both sides of the fence, instructing men and women. She talked about the differences in coaching both.  

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“They’re different and they’re both wonderful and I want to coach anybody who has a good, loving relationship that’s respectful and wants to be better,” remarked Welter. “If you’re a guy or a female and you want to be better and you want to work hard, I will coach the heck out of you regardless of gender. I think sometimes the communication style is different, and sometimes the point of entry is different, but it’s the relationship and the desire to work and get better that makes somebody an irresistible athlete to me to coach.”

Welter’s background is entrenched in football as a player and as a coach. Welter counts playing for the Texas Revolution and the Dallas Diamonds among her stops as a football player. She has embarked on coaching stints with the Texas Revolution (Champion Indoor Football) and the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) league.

All of this experience has helped Welter to be well-versed in the ways of the sport of football. So, high schoolers should be on notice when Welter speaks. And she offers this piece of advice with direct bluntness for these up-and-coming football players.  

“Do lots of film work. The secret sauce is really getting to know the game because that’s where the speed comes from, speed comes from muscle memory, it comes from doing the little things right,” said Welter. “It comes from signal recognition. The great ones are not great just because they have great reaction speed but because they know what they are looking for.” 

Korrea Lewis

Korrea Lewis is a student at Cal State Dominguez University. “I love sports, it’s my passion.”