Lauren Silberman, a 28-year-old from New York City, will make history March 2 when she becomes the first female to ever participate in a regional NFL Draft Combine according to NFL.com .
Silberman, who has kicked a 40 yard field goal but never played competitive football, will tryout as a kicker. This is a story that could have been ripped from the pages of one of our books Playing with Boys (Pretty Tough #2) is about a female soccer player who makes the varsity squad of her highschool football team.
At the University of Wisconsin Silberman played club soccer, then went the very non-traditional pro sports route of attending MIT and writing a master’s thesis about athletes using video games as performance enhancers. She has since started a company called Double Play that aims to aid athletes through video game use.
Other collegiate kickers will be competing against Silberman in the New Jersey regional, and Silberman had this to say in a phone interview with NFL.com, on becoming the first female to sign up for a combine:
“I was not aware that I was the first female registrant. I was actually hoping that the 2012 historical milestone rule, to allow women to play, would prompt more women to attend tryouts this year. But for me, what’s important is to finally have a chance to fulfill my dreams by trying out to play in the world’s most competitive football league.”
The NFL began implementing the regional combine system in 2011, featuring 10 host cities that whittle down participants to send to a super-regional combine in Dallas in April. Silberman will be the first to try to break the gender barrier in the three years since the regional combines were launched.
The prospect of a female playing in the NFL is something that excites a lot of people but even if Silberman ends up being the best kicking prospect at the combine, it’s unlikely an NFL team will pick her up unless they’re looking for a publicity stunt.
For years opponents of female playing on the gridiron have said it is “for their own good,” which is ridiculously sexist. Have they ever seen a women’s pro football game? I’m referring to the WFA (not the Lingerie Football League). Those players definitely have what it takes to compete on the gridiron.
Silberman might not make a NFL team or even make it to the super-regionals, but it’s a milestone that a woman is trying out. Too bad it took until 2013 for history to happen. We’ll be cheering for her.