Lauren Silberman of New York City will compete as a kicker during the March 2-3 Regional Combine in New Jersey. She is the first-ever female to do so, the NFL officially reported on Tuesday.
As a varsity soccer player at Wisconsin, she will be competing with many other kickers attempting to go into the NFL. Silberman wrote a Master's thesis at MIT on how video games can help train athletes, and then helped develop a company called Double Play which trains athletes using virtual reality.
Although it remains to be seen if Silberman can gain serious attention from the NFL scouts, she is still shocked by the fact that she is the first woman to register for the combine after the NFL changed its rules to allow female players in 2012.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement in December of 2011 that women would officially be eligible to play in the NFL. He said that he hoped the decision to include female players would convey the NFL’s more “feminine” and “progressive” side to the public.
"I was not aware that I was the first female registrant," Silberman told NFL.com on Tuesday. "I was actually hoping that the 2012 historical milestone rule, to allow women to play, would prompt more women to attend tryouts this year. But for me, what's important is to finally have a chance to fulfill my dreams by trying out to play in the world's most competitive football league."
It is not uncommon for players who compete in the lesser, regional combines to be drafted into the NFL. For example, Greg "Legatron" Zuerlein is just one success story from last year's regional combines. Four additional players, Chicago Bears cornerback Isaiah Frey, Detroit Lions cornerback Jonte Green, Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Christo Bilukidi, and St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein were also drafted in later rounds of the 2012 draft.
Silberman, 28, will be competing against plenty of other college kicker-hopefuls. She is the ultimate long shot in an event full of them.
"The opportunity to attend this event could not be more exciting. Getting to meet interesting people and perfect my technique from others could not be more rewarding. ... Regardless of the outcome of the tryout, I hope there is a way I can contribute and strengthen the league," Silberman said.