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From its inception, The Alliance has placed an emphasis on hiring the best person for the job, regardless of gender. That has led to a large number of women in on- and off-field football roles, from coaches, to officials, to athletic trainers and support staff.
Bill Polian, Alliance co-founder and head of football, said of emphasizing diversity, “It was a goal, an explicit goal of ours. That’s why we’re here and that’s our mission. Diversity is an integral part of that.”Embed from Getty Images
Underscoring that point, The Alliance has four women in officiating jobs.
There have been missed calls. There has even been some bad calls. What I haven’t seen is the women referees in this league making or missing those calls. As far as I can tell that this is a good thing. As a ref when your name isn’t being called that is a win.
Many fans saw a woman front and center during one of the league’s inaugural games. Terri Valenti served as the replay official for the game between the Atlanta Legends and Orlando Apollos.Embed from Getty Images
Fans saw her on live television review, overturning an incomplete pass call that resulted in the first touchdown in the history of The Alliance. It highlighted the league’s transparency during the replay review process, as well as its commitment to bringing in the best professionals it can find. Valenti worked for many years as an on-field official at nearly every level of football, up to college. She’s also been a replay official in the NFL for several years. That led to her role with The Alliance.
Valenti said this week she’s happy to be someone girls and young women can look to and believe they can follow their dreams and passions.Embed from Getty Images
Three women officiating in The Alliance are on the field. Amanda Sauer-Cook is a referee in college football’s Mid-American Conference, and she’s a center judge in The Alliance. She, too, has embraced her role as a potential role model for young women who aspire to have jobs in professional football, especially to her three daughters.
Keep in mind that all of these officials you are seeing in the AAF are in the NFL training pipe line to be future referees in the NFL.