WIRE FILE PHOTO
Caroline Pla practices football behind her Doylestown home. The 11-year-old can once again play football for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, thanks to the Catholic Youth Organization’s decision to overturn its previous ban and allow girls to play football, effective in the 2013 season.
By Megan Badger
Wire Managing Editor
Caroline Pla will once again be wearing a Romans football jersey this fall.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced on March 14 that the Catholic Youth Organization has overturned its previous ban and will allow girls to play football, effective in the 2013 season.
The archdiocese’s previous policy denied girls from playing full-contact sports in the CYO, but 11-year-old Pla played two full seasons with the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Romans before the issue was raised. However, at the end of the 2012 season, Pla was told she could not longer play CYO football because it was against the rules.
Now, she will be able to play two more seasons of Romans football with her teammates.
“At the request of Archbishop Charles Chaput, an Archdiocesan panel of coaches, parents, pastors and experts in sports medicine and pediatrics evaluated the current CYO policy and offered their recommendation,” according to the recent statement. “By a wide majority, members voted to continue the policy as written.”
Yet, even with the advisory panel insistent on keeping girls out of football, Archbishop Chaput decided the archdiocese would allow it after all.
According to the statement, “the Archdiocese also reviewed feedback from various other sources, both critical and supportive of the policy.”
One of those sources may have been the petition started by Pla’s mother, Seal, which had more than 108,000 supporters worldwide by the time the archdiocese made its decision.
The statement also said that it looked at “CYO policies of dioceses around the country,” many which do allow girls to play football.
The archdiocese said that this ruling is “provisional,” and will be subject to review in the future.
“Alternate options had merit and may be revisited in the future to ensure that any CYO sports program fosters an enjoyable and safe atmosphere providing for proper human formation, sportsmanship and Christian maturity,” the statement read.
The ruling isn’t just a win for Pla, but for all girls in the Philadelphia CYO. She told the Midweek Wire in a previous interview that she wanted the rule changed so other girls could play.