Published January 06, 2013
An 11-year-old girl is hoping that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will sack a rule that prevents her from playing football based on gender.
Caroline Pla, a former all-star player on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel CYO team in Pennsylvania’s Bucks County, was the only girl playing in a league that has about 2,500 boys, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
She played two seasons with the team until an opposing team reported her gender, her mother said. Coaches and officials at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel CYO were unaware of the rule.
“CYO football is a full contact sport designated for boys," archdiocese spokesman Ken Gavin told the paper. "There has been some perceived ambiguity in the policy regarding this point."
Pla said most players on opposing teams couldn’t tell that she was a girl.
"I had my hair pulled up, and I kept my helmet on except at halftime and the end of the game," she said.
Gavin said the archdiocese is reviewing its policy. Pla is looking to join the varsity football team, the Inquirer reports.
An online petition that her mother posted calling for the archdiocese to “allow girls to play” has more than 7,000 signatures.