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Women primarily play on a semi-professional or amateur level in the United States.

Julie Harshbarger, a placekicker for numerous Chicago-based Continental Indoor Football League teams, became the first female player to win a most valuable player award in an otherwise all-male league in 2014; by kicking five field goals that season, she earned the title of special teams player of the year, leading all kickers in the league in scoring.Jennifer Welter became the first female skill position player at the male professional level by playing as a running back in the Texas Revolution in 2014.That’s 2,500 girls ages 5 to 14 playing tackle football in an organization that makes up 8 to 10 percent of total youth football participation.Applied to the estimated 2.5 million youth football players, that number grows to 25,000 girls playing tackle football at the youth level.Of the women who have seen action in men's college and pro football, almost all have been in special teams positions that are protected from physical contact.

The first professional player was a placekick holder (a traditionally trivial position usually occupied by a person who holds another position on the team), while the best known female college football players were all placekickers, with all having primarily played women's soccer prior to converting.For years, the number of high schools with football teams and the number of high school children playing football grew at a steady rate.But recently, participation leveled off and even began to go down, except for one group: high school girls.Silberman had never played the game before and botched her tryout, leading observers to assume the tryout was a publicity stunt.Pop Warner estimates that girls make up 1 percent of its 250,000 registered players.Patricia Palinkas is on record as being the first female professional football player, having played for the Orlando Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Football League in 1970.