29 Jul 2015

Cardinals hire woman coach

12:15 pm on 29 July 2015

The Arizona Cardinals are being hailed as groundbreakers after hiring the National Football League's first female coach.

The Cardinals have hired Jen Welter, a 37-year-old former pro football player, to be a coaching intern during training camp this year, working with inside linebackers.

Arizona Cardinals NFL team in action

Arizona Cardinals NFL team in action Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Football fans took to Twitter to express their sentiments about Welter's hiring.

"#NFLTrainingCamp hasn't even started and the @AZCardinals are already winning," The Dude (@Calicardsfan) said.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians says the internship will be a great opportunity that could "open some doors" for Welter.

"Coaching is nothing more than teaching," Arians said. "One thing I have learned from players is, 'How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the Green Hornet, man, I'll listen.'"

Welter, who has a Ph.D. in psychology, joins the Cardinals' staff after playing for the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League.

She became the first female non-kicker to play in a men's professional league when she played running back for the Revolution in 2014.

She says she could not have dreamed big enough to have dreamed this day would ever come, and she would feel "honored" to be considered a trailblazer for other women wanting to follow in her footsteps.

"I think the beauty of this is that though it's a dream I never could have had, it's a dream other girls can grow up and have."

Cardinals' players report on Friday for training camp, which lasts about a month.

The team finished the 2014 regular season with an 11-5 record but lost in the first round of playoffs.

Welter won two gold medals playing for Team USA in the International Federation of American Football Women's World Championship in 2010 and 2013.

Last year, the National Basketball Association's San Antonio Spurs made Becky Hammon, a former WNBA All-Star, an assistant coach of the team. She recently led the Spurs to the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League title.