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CYO Throws the Flag on 11-Year-Old Football Player Caroline Pla

Caroline Pla is 11 years old and has been playing football since she was 5. She is the only girl on the Romans football team which is organized by the Archdiocese Of Philadelphia’s Catholic Youth Organization in Doylestown Pa.

Should a girl be allowed to play flag football?
Flickr User Mel Sharlene


But now her playing days may come to an end thanks to a rule found in a CYO handbook which permits only boys to play the game.

What’s odd is that they didn’t seem to know about this rule until Caroline signed up to play 2 years ago. So they let her become part of the team and then after she’s emotionally invested, pull the rug out from under her, or would that be the Astroturf?

Caroline’s family, after several unproductive meetings with CYO officials, took the battle to the streets. Caroline’s mother, Seal, created a petition on calling on the diocese to end it’s discrimination and allow girls to play football. That petition now has more than 68,000 signatures, including Ellen DeGeneres’, who had Caroline on her show earlier this week.

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When Ellen asked Caroline if she’d ever been seriously hurt the 11 year old replied “
I’ve never really gotten hurt, but I’ve hurt people”  This brings up the question of how a boy would handle a girl playing football. If you hit her so hard that you hurt her, what does that do to your reputation, if she hits you so hard that she hurts you, it’s even worse. Just the thing an 11 year old boy needs to deal with as he tries to find his place in the pack.


Personally I wouldn’t want my little girl to play football, especially at the age of 5. I had a great time being a child and am not looking to relive it again through my kid. But having said that, If you’re the CYO, you can’t unblow the whistle, Once they let her play, they should continue to do so. If you want to now institute the rule in the future, then go forth and deal with that. What do you think?  Leave your thoughts in the comment field below.

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