• Joanne Jacobs

Girls just wanna play football



Girls are playing tackle football, reports Cathy Free in the Washington Post.


Naliyah Rueckert joined a full-contact tackle football team near her Utah home when she was 13. “I was naturally an aggressive and angry girl, and football sparked something in me,” said Naliyah, now 19 and a community college student. "Football became my therapy."


That first season, in 2015, about 50 girls registered, snapping up every spot in the league just three days after sign-ups opened, said Renica Rueckert, who played in a women’s tackle football league and helped coach her daughter’s team. The girls’ league, which was initially open to only fifth- and sixth-graders, now has more than 650 players and includes girls up through 12th grade.

Girls from "rough backgrounds" find joy in football, says a player in “First Down,” an 11-minute documentary about the girls’ league team. Many girls enjoy a sport where being big is a plus.

Producer and director Carrie Stett decided to focus on the Utah Girls Tackle Football League. The documentary highlights the West Granite Quakes, known because of a long losing streak as the Underdogs.


I worry that football-playing girls will win equal access to concussions and other injuries.


My niece, who is not a large person, began playing co-ed rugby in college and moved to women's rugby in graduate school. I thought she was crazy, but she enjoys it.

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