With record numbers of female coaches going through the 2021 NFL training camps this year, 6 women are hired full time for the season ahead.
The latest addition to the female coaching crew is Sophia Lewin; the newest coaching member of the Buffalo Bills as she becomes the full time Offensive Assistant Coach.
The 2020 Super Bowl saw the ultimate achievement by Coaches Lori Locust and Maral Javadifer as they became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Can Coach Lo and Maral defend their Super Bowl title, or will we see another female coach lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy this season.
Meet the 6 female coaches for 2021:
Assistant Running Back Coach – Washington Football Team
Jennifer King was named to her current position on Jan. 26, 2021 after serving as the team’s full-year coaching intern in 2020. With this promotion, Jennifer becomes the first African American female assistant position coach in NFL history. Jennifer also becomes the second female assistant position coach in the NFL behind Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust.
In 2020, Jennifer was hired as a full-year coaching intern with Washington. In her role, she worked with the offensive staff throughout the course of the offseason, training camp and regular season and specifically assisted running backs coach Randy Jordan. During the 2020 season, Jennifer assisted Jordan with a running back group that compiled 423 attempts for 1697 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. Jennifer worked closely with running back J.D. McKissic in developing his skills in the pass game. McKissic finished the regular season with 80 receptions, which is second-most in a season for a Washington running back in franchise history.
Jennifer came to Washington from Dartmouth College where she was an offensive assistant. She primarily worked with the wide receivers and created defensive scouting reports and secondary specific scouting reports for the wide receivers.
Jennifer has participated in NFL coaching clinics from 2015-18 and also took part in the NFL Women’s Career in Football Forum in January of 2018.
Assistant Defensive Line Coach – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Lori Locust enters her third season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. Working alongside Defensive Line Coach Kacy Rodgers, the pairing led a dominant, Super Bowl-winning defensive line unit that led the NFL against the run for the second consecutive season, limiting opponents to 80.6 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry in the regular season.
Tampa Bay held its opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards an NFL-best 12 times in 2020. Additionally, the Buccaneers tallied 48.0 regular season sacks in 2020 – the second-most in team history – and 58.0 total sacks between the regular season and postseason combined, which tied for the NFL lead. In Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers defense kept the Chiefs offense out of the endzone, while tallying a Super Bowl-record 29 quarterback pressures. Locust also played a critical role in the development of the team’s rookies.
With the Buccaneers’ victory in Super Bowl LV, Locust – along with Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach/Physical Therapist Maral Javadifar – became the first women on an NFL coaching staff to win a Super Bowl.
Locust was an invitee to the annual NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum in both 2017 and 2018 and has since supported the forum, helping to connect and inspire female candidates with coaches and executives at NFL clubs. Since arriving in Tampa Bay, she has also been involved with the Junior Bucs Girls Flag Football League, the first all-girls flag football league in Tampa. In 2021, she attended and spoke with athletes at the Buccaneers Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic – the largest girls flag football tournament in the country – and participated in the coaching portion of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Women’s Summit for Careers in Football.
Offensive Assistant Coach – Buffalo Bills
Sophia Lewin previously worked with the Bills as a summer training camp assistant and participated in the NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum. She graduated in 2019 from Monmouth, where she was a student assistant for three years.
We hope to add more to her profile as her story is told throughout the season.
Player Performance Assistant – Denver Broncos
Emily Zaler enters her second year with the Broncos as a player performance assistant coach in 2021. She was hired by the club to her current position on Sept. 5, 2020.
Zaler, who began her tenure with the Broncos in 2020 as a Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellow, became the first full-time female coach in team history. She works exclusively with Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Loren Landow and supports all areas of the strength and conditioning department.
Prior to joining the Broncos, Zaler spent the 2019-20 NBA season as a seasonal assistant strength and conditioning coach with the New York Knicks before the league was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. She also served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of California San Diego from 2018-19, assisting the director of sports performance with the programming and coaching for men’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer and softball.
In addition to stints with the Knicks and UC San Diego, Zaler has more than ten years of coaching experience including stops as the Director of Training at Fit Athletic Club (San Diego, 2017-19) and Life Time Athletic (Roseville, Calif., 2016-17). She first gained experience within sports performance at Athletes’ Performance (now EXOS) as an intern (Tempe, Ariz., 2008-2010).
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Maral Javadifar enters her third season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021, where she serves as assistant strength & conditioning coach/physical therapist.
Skilled in the interplay between rehabilitation and training, she believes in an athlete-centered model that is focused on maximizing the potential of each player. She has a background in different forms of manual medicine, load management, physical assessments and motor learning. As a member of the Buccaneers Super Bowl-winning team in 2020, she joined Assistant Defensive Line Coach Lori Locust as the first women on an NFL coaching staff to win a Super Bowl.
Since arriving in Tampa, Maral has supported the annual NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum, helping to connect and inspire female candidates currently working in college football roles with coaches and executives at NFL clubs. She has also encouraged participation in the Buccaneers Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic – the largest girls flag football tournament in the country.
Maral completed her sports physical therapy residency at Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to her time at VCU, Maral worked as a performance physical therapist in the Virginia/DC area.
A native of Queens, New York, Maral played college basketball at Pace University in New York. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in molecular biology from Pace, Javadifar then earned her doctor of physical therapy degree from New York Medical College.
Chief of Staff – Cleveland Browns
Callie Brownson is an American football coach and player who currently serves as the Chief of Staff for the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns (NFL). She was promoted by Dartmouth in September 2018, becoming the first woman to be hired as a full-time NCAA Division 1 coach. She had previously worked as an intern for the team.
Brownson was a free safety and running back for the D.C. Divas of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) from 2010 to 2017, during which time she helped them win two National Championships.