First female coach in NFL shares story with precocious young students

Jen Welter speaks to students at Everglades Elementary. (WPEC)

Vero Beach native Jen Welter was the first woman to play in a men's professional football league. Then two years ago, she became the first female NFL coach - when she was named assistant linebackers coach with the Arizona Cardinals.

So she's used to playing with the big boys. But Friday she surrounded herself with a significantly smaller audience to share her story.

"You are a football player?" asked one young student. "Yes, I am a football player," responded Welter.

Welter's story is inspirational to all ages, but the Best Buddies chapter at Everglades Elementary in West Palm Beach may be a little young for her actual book.

But they're not too young to understand her message - "There's nothing that's not possible," she tells the young students.

And, to enjoy something more on their reading level on Dr. Seuss's birthday.

Welter's home base is still in Vero Beach, but she has been traveling the world, to promote pursuing dreams, especially for young girls.

"7 to 10 girls drop out of sports because they don't have a positive female role model they can relate to."

Welter remains close to football, even though she's not playing, or coaching in the NFL anymore. She has started a national tour of girls flag football camps, and started the first national football team of Australia.

"It shows that women and men belong on the same level. We can be instruments of each other's success, and not just accessories."

A lesson not just for an elementary school reading club, but for men and women, big and small.

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