I received an email from a 16 year old girl who is familiar with the Independent Women's Football League and is interested in playing youth football. Of the 3 leagues I've profiled 2 (American Youth Football and Pop Warner Little Scholars Football) don't mention girls playing or not. The other (NFL Youth Football) has separate divisions for teenage girls while younger girls and boys play together, mostly non-contact teams.
There are differences in strength and endurance between boys and girls, especially as they grow. Plus other, gender-related, concerns as children become teens that make many people uncomfortable with boys and girls playing a contact sport together.
On the other hand, girls are not the delicate creatures we were once thought to be and many girls are no longer content to wave pompoms and perform acrobatics on the sidelines. They want to be in the game, with all that entails. Girls play softball and baseball, soccer, track and field, and just about every other sport boys play and it's not too difficult for them to play on co-ed teams or find girls' leagues.
Football, however, continues to hold out as a nearly male-only sport. What's a girl to do? Play with the boys? Sit and watch her guy play? Perhaps it's time to bring more youth football opportunities to the girls in our communities.
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