During a recent joint preseason practice with the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens during preseason, Carli Lloyd, a soccer player on the U.S. women’s soccer team and Sky Blue FC, found herself on the field and successfully kicked a 55-yard field goal. While this field goal was really just for fun and games, it was only a matter of time before the video went viral and this became a true topic of speculation. On Monday, Aug. 26, Lloyd was offered to kick for an undisclosed NFL team during their preseason game but she declined the offer as she had her own game with the U.S. Women’s national soccer team the same night. So the timing wasn’t exactly right but this idea isn’t entirely off the table. Lloyd has expressed great interest in the possibility of kicking for an NFL team since the video and is open to discussion with offers. It has been discussed that logistically, we won’t see any new potential kickers so close to the season opener because of the limited preparation time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see a female kicker for the 2020 NFL season.
To me, this sounds exciting. I mean can’t you just picture it? A two-time Olympic gold medal-winning soccer player kicking field goals for your favorite team. I mean it makes sense in the abstract. Soccer players are great kickers. I mean thats their job as a soccer player. So why wouldn’t an NFL team recruit someone to kick for their team who has real professional experience with a ball, namely a different type but still a ball, to make some of these hail mary kicks we see on the field? Most kickers on NFL teams either have past experience playing soccer at the high school or college-level and professional soccer players are just the next step.
But as always, with all this positive encouragement towards Lloyd and her ambition to play in the NFL, there has been some opposition.
Keenan Allen, wide receiver for the Los Angeles Chargers commented on Twitter saying, “‘Sound sweet til somebody block the kick and all of a sudden she on defense. Would be like the stampede scene in the Lion King movie.”
It’s an obvious statement and a serious question that challenges allowing women to play in the NFL. What happens when they get tackled and they get hurt? I can understand the hesitation that you don’t want women, who typically tend to have a smaller stature than men, to get hurt or overpowered in high-intensity sports like football. However, most current NFL kickers aren’t exactly the strongest men on the field either. A woman, with the right training and enough time to build muscle, would be more than able to handle themselves in that capacity, especially since kickers usually aren’t a part of the heavy action during the game. There are those occasions where a kicker gets tackled to the ground or pushed back by the opponents, but in those instances, no one really fairs well. But if you think about it, a player really only uses as much force as they think is required to take down their opponent. So if they’re trying to take down someone half their size, they’re not going to bulldoze them down the same way they would with someone bigger than them, at least in theory.
So what’s the problem here really? If she can do the job and train properly, there is no reason that she, or any other soccer player— male or otherwise— shouldn’t be able to become an NFL kicker. Carli Lloyd might be the first to entertain this idea, but I can assure you, she won’t be the last.