From Soccer to Football
By Paige Francis
Women have never played in the NFL, but that could change within the next year. If you don’t know who Carli Lloyd is, she is a two-time FIFA Player of the Year and a three-time Olympian. She plays for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team and won the World Cup with her team over the summer. On August 20th, Lloyd hung out with the Philadelphia Eagles for the day and kicked a 55-yard field goal. Soon after Lloyd was interviewed and said she was seriously considering the idea of being a kicker. “I think I definitely could [take a run at NFL kicking] with the right practice and the right technique and get my steps down and figure all that out,” she said earlier this week. “But I don’t want to go in there blindly. I want to actually attempt to do it [the right way], but I know that I definitely could do it because anything I set my mind to do I can do it and I actually do kick balls for a living. So, yeah, it’s all about the technique, and we’ll see what happens, but I’m now entertaining the idea.” Although Lloyd is excited about this as well, let’s take a look at the challenges she would have to go through.
Even though people are very excited that Carli Lloyd could be in the NFL, she still has to go through the same process other kickers need to go through to become a professional field goal kicker. First of all, she needs to learn how to properly kick a field goal. Even though Lloyd has one of the most accurate shots in her game, there is still a different technique for kicking a field goal. Like she said, if she sets her mind to something, she can get it done, so don’t count her out of the equation yet. Something else that Lloyd, and the NFL as a whole, would have to deal with are the fans. Some fans reject change ( an example could be concussion protocol and how it is being reviewd every year, to ensure the player’s saftey) and having a female in the league is a major change. If Carli Lloyd were to try out for the NFL roster, it would create a huge media burst. Everyone would be asked about their thoughts on this new change. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though. If approached in a positive way, this change could create a lot of “feel-good” headlines in the news, which is something we all definetly need.
Another challenge would be the coaches. A lot of coaches don’t do anything new because it hasn’t been done before. Within that issue is how she would be drafted, if she was. Lloyd wouldn’t benefit the team on kickoffs, which means that a coach would have to sign a punter who can kick, or hold open three spots just for kickers, which is unlikely. Another concern that comes up is how will Lloyd do under pressure? How well is she going to do in a close game with eleven 245 pound men around her? Lloyd, when asked about the pressure, says she welcomes it. “...And I actually invite the pressure. I love the pressure. When I have to nail something — shooting hoops, ax-throwing, kicking a field goal — that is the moment I live for and want. It comes down to the mind, training the mind.” As a closing statement in that same interview with Peter King, she also says, “It’s worth having some conversations about it. With practice and someone showing me, I know I can do it. I have one of the most accurate shots in our game. Big thing would be getting used to the big boys out there. But nothing scares me. You hold yourself back if you’re afraid. What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t make the team? Let’s just say I did try. Maybe I change the landscape a lot.” Lloyd wouldn’t be doing any of this until 2020, but she’s definitely preparing for it. Even if she doesn’t end up becoming an NFL kicker, she is still an inspiration to everyone everywhere, especially women and girls all around the world, showing them that they can do anything.