Jen Welter, who made NFL history when the Arizona Cardinals hired her in 2015 as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason, has been named the head coach of Team Australia for the 2017 IFAF Women’s World Championship.
Gridiron Australia made the announcement Monday that Welter, believed to be the first female coach of any kind in the NFL, will helm the Australian Outback’s first women’s national team at the tackle football competition, which is held every four years.
Welter was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the IFAF Women’s World Championship in 2010 and 2013.
“In 2010, I had the opportunity to represent Team USA in the inaugural Women’s World Championship. … We committed to not only winning a gold medal but also to being International Ambassadors for the game of American Football,” Welter said in statement released by Gridiron Australia. “I am honoured to uphold this promise by assuming the Head Coaching role of Team Australia. … Additionally, I hope other teams will follow suit and continue to open doors and expand the roles of women in football and sport as a whole.”
Welter worked with the Cardinals’ inside linebackers during the 2015 training camp and preseason but has not coached in the NFL since, although it put her on the map as a pioneer for women in sports and made her the face of women’s football.
Welter previously became the first female coach in a men’s professional football league when she was hired by the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football league to coach linebackers and special teams in February 2015.
In February 2014, she became the first female to play a nonkicking position in a men’s professional football league when she played running back and special teams for the Revolution.
Welter played professional football for more than 14 years as a linebacker, mostly with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s Football Alliance, which she rejoined after her stint in the NFL. She helped lead them to four championships.
She also has a doctorate in psychology.