Thursday, September 29, 2011

Can men and women play on the same football team?

This story took a few minutes to sink in. So, Mo Isom is a soccer-goalie with the LSU university team in Louisiana. And she's been spotted on the training field with the male American Football team on-campus, the Tigers.
american football Mo Isom gridiron
Mo Isom

It seems she's been in discussions with the coaches, and will try out in the spring for a place on the team. She's not the first, see this post on Jen Hilton in the UK. And ESPN reports here that Kate Hnida was on the University of Colarado team with disastrous results for her safety and health; constant sexual harassment and she says she was raped but never felt able to name her attacker because of the culture in the sport and attitude to women who speak out about sex-crimes.

Isom has been training for eight months so far, and according to local reports is looking like a solid kicker for the team if she makes it.

Irish blogger and American Football fan, Emmet Ryan thinks: "Mo Isom couldn't have found a better place to take her shot. LSU's coach, Les Miles, has never been afraid to be creative and the fans won't question him using a female kicker. There's a solid recent history of soccer players moving into kicking roles on American Football teams so if Isom has the leg she'll have a great chance at making it."

So - is she taking on too much? can women play against men in such a physical game? 

Thanks to Action81 for drawing my attention to this one. 



Emmet Ryan said...

Cheers for the mention, if there's one thing supporting her here it's that she won't face as much chance of getting hurt as in any other position on the field. Kickers are largely protected and only tend to get hit in the rare instances that they try to tackle somebody. The smart ones flop in such instances or pretend they couldn't get in position on time so as to avoid having to make contact. she should be ok if she folliows that example.

niamh said...

@Emmet - Well I have to take your word for that with my non-existant AF knowledge, I certainly wouldn't like to take a hit from one of those guys. She's tall (1.8m) but still, could be nasty. Look forward to seeing what happens

Anonymous said...

It's the rape thing that gets to me. This is a huge issue in the United States armed forces where sexual attacks against women is an ongoing problem for women who choose to serve. Is this the price of admission for women now??

niamh said...

@girlboxing - just saw your comment. Nasty stories, from what I've read Hnida had an awful time with her first team and only really recovered when she moved to New Mexico, different set-up but no support or belief at all originally.

Emmet Ryan said...

The location is a huge huge plus for her. At Colorado, even without the horrible acts committed against Hnida, she never really stood a chance due to culture of that organisation at the time. At LSU, because of the success achieved by Miles and his unorthodox approach, anything out of the ordinary would be accepted. That includes a female kicker. They already have one unconventional kicker on the team, their punter played Aussie Rules and has an amazing leg. I know the gender issue is different but if there was one place I would be confident of it not being an issue it's LSU.

niamh said...

@Emmet Ryan - Hope you're right!

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, there is at least a feel-good story out of Ohio about a female kicker on a formally all male high school team that is very positive. I guess the question is what will happen if she decides to pursue it at the college level. Here's the link:

niamh said...

@girlboxing - thanks for that link, interesting combo - homecoming queen and football player.