YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Underneath number four’s helmet — in a youth football game at Kirkmere Elementary on Sunday — is a middle school girly-girl who loves shopping and talking on the phone.
That’s Jalaya Brown-Venable, running back and defensive end.
“She has a passion for football,” her mom, Jessica Brown, said. “She’s had a passion for football since I think she was in the first grade.”
Brown-Venable plays for the Titans, whose team faced off against the Westside Phantoms on Sunday.
There’s some girl power on that team, too, as Jamia Dent is the team’s safety.
Both of the girls’ parents talked about how their daughters deal with the physicality of football.
“She takes them hits, she gives them hits and she keeps on tickin,” Brown said.
“She’s very challenging,” said Gerome Miller, Dent’s father. “Very competitive.”
Jamia and Jalaya are just two of several girls playing in the local youth football leagues this year — and the boys don’t have a problem with it.
“They treat them just like one of the players,” League President Nate Armstrong said. “Actually they expect them to even play harder than the boys because they are girls.”
“Throughout the years, we had one here and one there but this is an opportunity where a lot of girls are playing and playing key roles for their teams,” Valley native and former NFL player Anthony Floyd said.
Sports Team 27/ 33 Sports says more girls are playing high school football this year.
Jamia and Jalaya plan to keeping playing.
Their parents support them, but have a concern about them wanting to play in the NFL.
The NFL allows women players, but there aren’t any right now.
“She might be the first to be in the NFL,” Miller said.
“She just wants to inspire other people,” Brown said.