San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers came out in a story published in Outsports on Tuesday, becoming the first openly LGBT coach in all of men's professional sports.
Sowers became just the second female coach in the league earlier this month when she was hired full-time with the 49ers for the 2017 season.
"No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are," the 31-year-old Sowers told Outsports. "There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation. The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day."
Sowers, who came out to her family in college, was hired as a 49ers offensive assistant working with the wide receivers.
"The most fulfilling aspect is having the ability to impact the lives of these young men chasing their dream of playing in the NFL, as well as serve as a role model for young girls who might happen to see me following my passion," Sowers said. "I am a strong believer that the more we can expose children to a variety of different opportunities in life, the better chance they have of finding their true calling.
"I would have loved to see women in this role when I was growing up because I think it would have allowed me to follow my passion even earlier. If you can't see something happen, sometimes it's hard to believe it can. We don't know what we don't know, and I didn't know football was even a possibility for women."
Sowers played pro football in the Women's Football Alliance and helped the United States win the women's world title and gold medal in 2013.