All In With Allison – Breaking Barriers

Written By Allison Schubert, Sports Columnist

For anyone that is a sports fan, you have undoubtedly seen the names Alyssa Nakken and Katie Sowers in your newsfeed, on your screen, etc. over this past week, even if you don’t know it.

As a young professional woman who has already and continues to pursue careers in professional sports, these two women have been at the forefront of breaking gender barriers in the last few days (and years).

Katie Sowers began her barrier-breaking journey in 2016, when she first began her coaching journey in the National Football League.

That’s right – a woman. As a coach. In the NFL. A woman coaching men. (Enter shocked gasps and infuriated sports fans.)

A little background on Sowers: she began her recent American football career as an athlete in the Women’s Football Alliance. After retirement, she was named a training camp coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, becoming the second woman to work as a full-time member of an NFL team’s coaching staff.

The following year, the San Francisco 49ers hired her as their offensive assistant coach, a position she has held since.

So why do I bring this up in 2020? Well, Sowers is in the headlines again: this time, as the first female coach, and first openly-LGBTQ+ coach, to make it to the SuperBowl.

Sowers and her 49ers will head to Miami next month to take on the Chiefs in SuperBowl LIV.

As Sowers travels from San Fran to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the Golden City will be receiving another history-making woman in the form of Alyssa Nakken.

Nakken was a former softball star at Sacramento State, and was hired as the first female full-time assistant coach on an MLB staff last Thursday by Giant’s Manager Gabe Kapler.

Ex-Giant Aubrey Huff was quick to show his opposition to the hire, taking to Twitter to say he “couldn’t imagine taking baseball instruction from an ex female softball player.”

Huff also argued that having a full-time female coach could lead to legal implications, saying that “having a female coach running around… has #MeToo and #BelieveAllWomen written all over it.”

It is really disheartening that an ex-pro would be so strongly opposed to something like this, especially as openly as he has been.

Being a woman in a professional team’s front office is hard enough, let alone on a coaching staff or in operations.

Myself and so many others are so unbelievably proud of both of these women, as well as the numerous others that have continued powering through the opposition to open doors to all of the badass women that will follow.

Kudos to them.