Jennifer Welter may become the Texas Revolution's first female running back. The 5-foot 2-inch, 130-pound athlete from Addison announced she'll enter training camp with the Indoor Football League team this winter.
"Right now, the reality of football in this country is that little girls who love this game either play with the boys or they don't play," said Welter.
According to the team, it's the first time in their knowledge that a female has been invited to try out for a men's professional football team in a position other than kicking or placeholding.
"I've never had a girl come out and try to play football with us," said Revolution coach Chris Williams. "What I saw on film was a tenacious player and we'll see how that translates into playing with the guys."
Welter is a former college rugby player and a former linebacker in the Women's Football Alliance. Welter is making a position switch — to the other side of the ball, as a running back.
She has a passion for football and said she's entering an all-male professional training camp because "if it's a choice, I'm going to play."
Welter earned her doctorate in psychology last year and works in fitness and consulting in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
She also competed for Team USA in the Women's World [Football] Championship, twice earning a gold medal for the United States.
In the team's front office, management insists they "believe in Jen."
"It's not a gimmick — it's not a way to sell tickets," said Mathew Lunsford with the Revs, who maintains that Welter's small stature may be an advantage behind what team leadership calls an impressive batch of recruits on the offensive line.
However, for Welter, it's about being an example to young girls and women, specifically, the girls who showed up at the news conference announcing her bid at the team.
"Regardless of if I ever gain a yard or make a touchdown, or if I even make it through training camp, I'm doing it for them," Welter said.
Welter will not know if she makes the team until further into training camp. The team's first game is Feb. 15.