By way of soccer, Phoebe Schecter helps construct higher athletes

Phoebe Schecter unknowingly made a life-changing decision in her early 20s when, after moving to England to work with horses, she saw an advert on social media asking her to play American Football.

Fast forward to today, and Schecter has become an accomplished player and coach. As well as representing the UK national team, she was the first British woman coach of the NFL since moving from the US and worked for the Buffalo Bills. Phoebe Schecter believes that much of her success comes from never fearing failure, and she works hard to inspire women to adopt the same attitude.

M&F sat down with the trailblazer to learn more about how sport can make better people.

I was born in Connecticut," says Schecter. “Gymnastics was my forte from a young age. That and riding. That shaped pretty much most of my childhood.”

As she got older, Schecter's love of competition intensified and she soon dipped into other sports such as cross country running, softball and lacrosse. For this young athlete, sport was a great confidence booster, so much so that her life took a welcome but unexpected turn simply by opening herself to new challenges. It's a theme Schecter loves to share with women of all ages: that exercise can really make a difference in your life.

For Phoebe Schecter, that big, life-changing moment came when she decided to take the plunge and play soccer, but you don't have to be in a high-impact sport to thrive. Schecter, who now works for NFL UK, has made it his mission to get more girls into the sport of flag football.

Phoebe Scherter

Phoebe Schecter is a flag football champion

The New York Jets and Chicago Bears recently launched the UK's first Jets and Bears NFL Girls Flag League, and Schecter is acting as an ambassador for important initiatives like this. "Girls have a really great opportunity because flag football is so much about leadership," she says. “Flag Football is a five-on-five non-contact invasion game. It's our version of American football, which I think has fewer barriers to participation. It's a much faster game. It's easier to understand. You have four tries to reach the half and then another four tries to score. All you're going to do is run or pass the ball and I think

It's a really fun way for kids to express themselves on any type of sports field. There is a position for everyone, regardless of your size and skill set.”

Flag football is just one of the avenues the NFL is establishing for girls in sports to allow women to play football for Team GB. Schecter herself is a big part of this team as a defender, was also captain and is looking forward to the upcoming European Championships in Ireland.

The NFL Academy is a major NFL initiative that aims to use American football to create life-changing opportunities for young people in the UK. Learn more here!

“There are also many opportunities to play in the United States,” she says. “Girls can go to college and get a scholarship to play flag football. You can get a scholarship to play and get an education.” And with the excitement surrounding flag football being considered for the 2028 Olympics, there's never been a better time to get involved.

Schecter sends the elevator down for future female success stories

For Schecter, one of the greatest benefits of sport is its ability to become an inclusive endeavor. While serving the Bills, Schecter became a tackle specialist, breaking down the processes and steps for the success or failure of each tackle.

"How fast were you? your angle? That really excites me,” she says. Her experience with the Buffalo Bills was encouraging and being a woman has never been an obstacle in the testosterone-heavy world of football. However, Schecter recognizes that the more women are able to play a meaningful role in sport, the less novel the concept will be and that normalizing the notion of women coaching male-dominated sports is essential.

When it comes to gaming, Schecter enjoys hitting the gym and building on her explosive power. She's a fan of pull-ups, squats, and kettlebells. But while Schecter is at the top of her game and also serves as an NFL broadcast analyst for SKY Sports, she's always trying to send the elevator back down to create future success stories.

"Ideally, in a perfect world, I would love someone younger, faster, stronger, and better than me to kind of put me out of a job," says Schecter. “That is the ultimate goal. I want more young people to try and practice this sport. If you look at people from handball, netball and athletics. Let's get athletes from all different versions. "Sport has given me absolute confidence and I feel so empowered just by playing."

Schecter is competitive but finds that sport is so much more than a question of who wins or loses. She says people make good friends and enter new social circles when they join teams. This pioneer also believes that exercise helps create well-rounded people. "Seeing this person grow and develop over time, there's no better feeling," she beams.

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