Women and Football Officiating
Women are Watching Football
The National Football League (NFL) claims that 47% of spectators watching NFL games are women. According to Statista, 56% of women watch football in 2022. These NFL fans consider themselves to be either avid or casual fans of the sport.
The NFL and Women Officials
In 2013, the NFL launched Football Officiating Academy, or FOA. This two-day immersion experience teaches participants the basics of football. Participants also develop the fundamentals of officiating and other leadership skills that may lead them into the world of officiating.
In support of women officials, the NFL launched Women Officiating Now, or WON, as a women focused branch of the Football Officiating Academy. Top performers in WON may have the opportunity to continue the career path in the NFL’s Officiating Development Program.
Success in and on the Field
One example of a woman of the success of the WON program is Sarah Thomas, who in 2015 became the first woman to be assigned full-time to an NFL officiating crew. The NFL wants to encourage more women to start working as officials nationwide.
The Journey to Becoming a Woman Football Official
As part of the WON - FOA program, women participants are trained by the best in the industry NFL scouts, as well as current and former NFL officials spend time with participants on the field covering four areas of officiating:
- Health and fitness, and
- Character development
In addition to the football officials training, FOA attendees learn life skills that are required of every official. Skills like time management, conflict resolution, clear communication and decisiveness are important for every official to master. With the number of women watching and enjoying football and the commitment the NFL has made to diversifying the rank of the officiating pool now may be the time to consider starting your career in football officiating.
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