DALLAS Diamonds gridiron star Jen Welter has been in Ipswich promoting the Ladies Football League (LFL) of Australia and has been overwhelmed by the passion of locals for the game.
Welter was invited to Australia by the LFL and is assisting to promote the competition and see it prosper.
"I have been following the ladies from early on…and I have been blessed to see them blossom," she said.
"The support they have received has been overwhelming and it makes me so happy to see how it has been embraced here by the people of Ipswich.
"It has been a very positive experience overall.
"I can't think of many other places in the world where the culture is so open to contact sport."
Ladies Football League Australia executive director and founder Tala Schultz is pushing to have the headquarters of the league in Ipswich.
There are five gridiron teams in south-east Queensland with the Ipswich Miners the local side.
Teams are being set up in all states.
"It is a national league that teaches women the game of gridiron and adds to the smorgasbord of sports in Australia," Schultz said.
"We want to empower women to be fit, funky and fabulous and to be driven to stay fit.
"The Ladies Football League of Australia brought Jen out here from a consultative and experienced professional athlete's point of view to assist us to continue to set this up.
"She is our crystal ball."
Schultz said the competition had received tremendous support from the Ipswich Sports House and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale.
Welter was a guest speaker at the LFL presentation night recently where she encouraged the girls and gave them a vision of where the sport can go.
She also put a few of the girls through some drills and gave them some pointers.
"That was a lot of fun because the girls just want to learn and get better," she said.
Welter is a line-backer for the Diamonds in the US Women's Football Alliance.
She is an eight-time All Star player and has won four championships with the Diamonds.
Welter was also in the inaugural US women's team that won the gold medal at the 2010 Women's World Championships where she was selected in the All World team.
Welter was a prop in rugby union at college where she was a pocket rocket at five foot two and half the size of the other girls.
She got her chance to play full contact gridiron and took to it like a duck to water.
Like Ipswich legend Allan Langer, she showed that size doesn't matter when you have the talent and a big heart.
"I wasn't sure if I would make it because of my size, which is what held me back in rugby," she said.
"But I knew if I didn't try it, I would never forgive myself.
"I sucked it up and tried it anyway.
"That has been a hallmark of me as a player. I was always the little, feisty one."
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