Stop Catholic Youth Organization from Prohibiting Girls from Playing Football

Target: Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput

Goal: Prevent the Catholic Youth Organization of Philadelphia from banning girls from any sport

Caroline Pla, an 11-year-old avid football player, has recently been kicked off her team with the Catholic Youth Organization because of their ‘boys-only’ playing policy. The decision to boot her from the team came from Archdiocese of Philadelphia stating the ban against girls playing football was to protect girls, due to the contact nature of the sport.

Actively playing since age 5, Caroline says she doesn’t understand why she is prohibited from playing the sport she loves under the guise of protection when the boys who play are unprotected. Head coach of the team, Chip Ross and former coach, Jim Reichwein have both publicly advocated for Caroline’s ability to hold her own in the game. Chip Ross stated that football is a sport that will cull out the weakest links and Caroline is far from the weakest.

Caroline’s parents and community have been rallying behind her with support. Caroline’s mother created an online petition with hopes of getting 100 signatures to persuade the archdiocese to let girls play football. The petition now has over 100,000 signatures. Caroline has received national media attention and has been featured on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show.

National news media have featured articles about her cause. So far there has been no lenience from the archdiocese but a panel will be discussing the ban on girls in mid-March. Caroline herself has contacted Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has final say in the decision after the panel vote, but has only received a condescending and dismissive response stating it was for her own protection.

The argument for keeping girls from football is a so-called safety issue. But Caroline counter-argues that it is not a safety issue for girls; it is a safety issue for anyone who chooses to go on the field and play the game. If a girl has the guts to go out there and play football, she should not be denied. Sign the petition below to stand with Caroline and all girls who are prohibited from contact sports due to outdated, sexist ideals. Demand Archbishop Charles Chaput let Caroline play football.


Dear Archbishop Chaput,

Recently, a young woman with a fierce love for sports contacted your office urging you to consider her passion. Her name is Caroline Pla and her passion is to play football. She contacted you to urge you, as the final vote in the upcoming panel to discuss the ban of girls from football, to simply let her play the sport she wants to play.

Your office has stated on several occasions that the ban is in place as a safety clause to protect girls from the contact nature of the sport. I ask you, if football is a safety issue for girls, is it not a safety issue for boys as well? Young men are often getting brutally injured while playing contact sports such as football, if safety is the issue it would seem prudent to cut any and all contact sports from athletic programs altogether.

According to her family, church community, and football coaches Caroline has repeatedly proven herself as an adept and skillful player. Her head coach has been quoted saying that football, the sport itself, will break the weakest players and Caroline has only shown how far she is from being the weakest. Caroline’s story has received national attention and support. The age of girls being banned from football is over. A female ban based on ‘safety issues’ is outdated and sexist. I demand you, as the final voice, allow Caroline to play football and remove the antiquated ban.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Philly Burbs via Ellen

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171 Signatures

  • Lynn Juozilaitis
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