The Women’s World Football Games Tackles Inclusivity in the Sport
Culture USA Football’s annual event brings together an international group of women athletes in the hopes of training a new generation of football players, coaches and leaders.
In spite of sidelines on its fields, football is boundless in capturing imaginations.
USA Football’s Women’s World Football Games radiate the unity, competition and inspiration synonymous with America’s favorite sport, now a sought-after U.S. export.
A common language
More than 200 female athletes spanning 20 countries traveled to Orlando, Fla., this past January for ten days of training, intrasquad games and expert-led panel discussions about women-focused careers in coaching and football operations.
“We speak different languages,” said Elise Aubourg, a defensive end from Florida, “but the one language we all speak is football.”
A promising path
Any woman age 18 or older may apply for 2018 Women’s World Football Games. USA Football, the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, will determine and announce the 2018 event’s dates and location later this year.
“I just love it,” said French player Sylvie Aibeche about competing at the 2017 Games. “Being on the field is the only time where I live for the moment. I don’t think about anything else.”
A bright future
Women continue to advance within coaching ranks among the game’s highest levels. In the past two years, Phoebe Schecter (Buffalo Bills), Collette Smith (New York Jets), Kathryn Smith (Buffalo Bills) and Jen Welter (Arizona Cardinals) earned full-time or training camp coaching positions with NFL teams.
Schecter’s path to Buffalo was forged by taking part in the 2017 Games. A men’s and women’s football coach in England, as well as a member of the women’s Great Britain National Tackle Football Team, met Bills owner Kim Pegula during the event in Orlando. Strongly impressed with Schecter, Pegula recommended her to head coach Sean McDermott, who added Schecter to his training camp staff.
USA Football will announce event and registration details about the 2018 Games in the months ahead.