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No Football For Girls?

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What happens when a girl is told she can't play sports? Sweet victory.

10-year-old Alycia Figueroa was crushed when she learned why she couldn't play in the Ashtabula Midget Football League: She's a girl.


When they arrived at Smith Field to sign up for the season, her family was told that the bylaws restricted girls from joining the league partly for fear they would get injured while roughhousing with boys.

When Alycia's mother, Paula, asked for more information, league president Thom Duffy said his league stands by its 37-year rule, and that girls are simply not allowed on any of the league's teams.

But Paula insists Alycia is a sports lover who excels at basketball and baseball, and that the league president is abiding by outdated rules. "Once my daughter puts that helmet on, it doesn't matter what gender she is," she says.

"She's a total tomboy. She can catch a ball better than some of these boys," Paula adds. "They told her she had to be a cheerleader. She said, 'I don't want to be a cheerleader; I want to play football.'"

The day after the rejection, Alycia received loads of support and invitations to play from neighboring youth football leagues, including the Ashtabula County Youth Football Association, The Geneva Midget Football League, and The Madison Youth Football League.

Alycia ultimately signed with The Buckeye Community Midget League, who welcomed her with open arms. "I was so sad, but now I'm happy I can finally play," Alycia says. "I can't wait for my first day of practice."

Do you think Alycia should be allowed to play?

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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
birdsfly July 18, 2008, 12:15 PM

Come on people, it’s the Midget League not the NFL. At that age boys and girls are the same size with the same general amount of muscle, she’s only as likely to get injured as any of the boys on the team.

foxymama July 18, 2008, 1:05 PM

I have two daughters and I’m all for them doing what they want to do. But, there are limits. At 10 years old, my brother was way stronger and faster than me. It’s not about NOT allowing girls to do something, it’s about safety. What if the boys taunt her tease her, pick on her worse then one another. What if they throw sexual innuendos at her? It is not about her abiliates, they could very well be better than some of the boys on the teams- it’s about there truly being limits set based on a child’s safety and well being.

Anonymous July 18, 2008, 1:56 PM

I’m a bit embarassed to admitt it but…I do believe in recreational gender lines for my kids. I don’t want my son to take ballet or cheerleading or my daughters to play football or wrestle.

Caitlin July 18, 2008, 1:59 PM

I play for a boys varsity team, this is my second season. I love playing football and at 110 I get out weighed by 100 pounds in some cases. I do get thrown around but I can stand my own. I feel it depends on the toughness and strength of the individual not the gender. I promote any girl to give it a try if they feel they can handle it.

SDI July 18, 2008, 9:10 PM

When my now-38 year old daughter wanted to play football in mid-school, the coach, finally believing her when over and over told him that she was female, always put her in for plays that he knew would hurt her or anybody put in at that play. It completely broke her spirit. This crap has been going on for years. DISCRIMINATION completely broke her. Her self-worth never returned.

Football mom July 18, 2008, 10:59 PM

I run a youth football league and I will tell you we had girls that played for us and when one of them broke her arm(purely by accident as happens in football) her father stormed the field and yelled at the boys for being too rough. Its human nature shes a girl min a boys world.

anonymous July 30, 2008, 2:36 PM

I believe girls should be able to play. My 10 year son plays football and he has played with a girl on his team and I will tell you that she played better than some of the boys. Actually, some of the boys tried to avoid her. she was a great player and I don’t think it is fair to hold one back from doing what they love to do because of their gender.

rosina January 1, 2009, 12:09 AM

Hey if she wonts to play football she can its only wat her heart says and I think she will be the best football player ,,,she’s dreaming wat she wonts to be so she should her choice no one can change her but god

titi January 1, 2009, 12:24 AM

Hey this is rosinas sister and if she wonts to play then I believe in her of making her a best player,i wanted to play football but I dident get a chance to because I couldent because I had another sport fast pitchsoftball her dreams can come if you and her believe cuz aanything can happend if you believe ………….

Erica June 9, 2009, 9:44 AM

When my mother showed me this article (I’m 13) I felt overjoyed. She had me do a month long porject for me to see whether I should try out for the football team at school. I gave to her a five minute presentation. (Did you know the sport kids get the most injuries from is basketball? She lets me play that!)
Then she showed me this article and said yes. Now I’m a quarterback at my school’s team.
Way to go Alycia!

Coach Allen August 13, 2009, 5:56 PM

In 1973 I was coaching and there was a girl who played like a Bulldog. And her teammat’s backed her up. But city hall stop her from playing out the season . Some Girl are great at the age 7-12 and I’ll coach them at any time with the boy’s. You GO GIRL- Coach Oh she weigh-in at 109 and ran down a ball carrie and broke his arm!

lilikindsli October 4, 2009, 5:38 PM

H5Pw24 I want to say - thank you for this!

missy July 28, 2010, 9:55 AM

Football is a boys sport. PERIOD. There are no female players in the NFL, and lets face it, a woman at her physical best could not perform or compete as well as a man in the same situation. If you have a daughter who wants to play football, start a girls league…I personally dont want a little girl on on my sons offensive line defending him.

paula December 11, 2010, 4:26 AM

My daughter excelled at football she is now going into 8th grade and will play football for her school! She changed the normal for our town! And she did awesome! And fyi the league changed their 37yr old rules after that season and she played for them the following season. She played wide receiver…running back and did awesome as safety for defense! She was also put on the offensive and defensive line and did awesome. It really isn’t good when players of any age are hurt but funny how boys of different ages were the ones hurt during the season and not her! Will she go through highschool or college wanting to play? Who knows? But because she is my daughter I would never hold her back from anything!

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