Jennifer Welter (born October 27, 1977) is an American football player and coach who coached inside linebackers for the National Football League's Arizona Cardinals during their training camp and the 2015 preseason. The signing with the Arizona Cardinals made her the first female coach in the NFL. This is her third "first" for men's football in 2014 and 2015.
On February 12, 2015, Champions Indoor Football's Texas Revolution named Welter their linebackers and special teams coach making her the first woman to coach in a men's professional football league.
On January 24, 2014, the Revolution announced signing 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m), 130 lb (59.0 kg) Welter as a running back. This made her the second female player for a position other than kicker or placekick-holder on a men's professional football team, and the first at running back. She is not the first female to play a male dominant sport; however, she is the second woman after hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser to play a "contact" position in a male dominant sport and the first woman in football to do so.
Welter was featured in Mogul's #IAmAMogul campaign as part of Women's History Month in March, 2016 for "changing the perception of what it means to be an NFL coach."
On November 19, 2015, Welter was presented with the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Sports Pioneer award at the United Nations
Welter is a veteran of several women's professional and semi-professional football teams (including the Dallas Diamonds and Dallas Dragons). She was a gold medal-winning member of Team USA at the International Federation of American Football's (IFAF) Women's World Championship in 2010 and 2013. She played rugby in college.
Welter's first action as a Revolution running back came during a preseason game on February 15, 2014, against the North Texas Crunch. Welter rushed for three carries for −1 yards. On February 19, the Revolution named Welter to their 2014 regular season roster.
On February 12, 2015, the Texas Revolution introduced Welter as their new linebackers and special teams coach. She is the first woman to coach in a men's professional football league.
On July 27, 2015, the Arizona Cardinals hired Welter as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason; as such, she is believed to be the first female coach in the NFL. Her internship with the Cardinals expired after the team's third preseason game on August 30, 2015. Her coaching style does not differ from many, according to Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu. The Arizona Cardinals enters the 2015-2016 NFL season with a record of 3-0. The Washington Post most recently added that: "The biggest question coming in was would guys in the NFL respond to a woman coaching them, and the obvious answer is yes".
Welter graduated from Boston College and has a master's degree in Sport psychology and a PhD in psychology from Capella University, a higher education institution in Minneapolis, Minnesota.