Phoebe Schecter on coaching LeSean McCoy at Buffalo Bills and launching Manchester NFL Girls Flag league

From coaching LeSean McCoy at Buffalo Bills to captaining Great Britain’s women’s American Football team, Phoebe Schecter has gone on a sensational road to launching Manchester’s first NFL Girls Flag League.

Incredibly, while many would suspect that the American-born athlete started the game at a young age, she only picked up a football for the first time at 22 after moving to the UK for a job with horses and stumbling across an advert for a tryout in Manchester.

Looking for something to do, Schecter decided to give it a whirl, without the faintest idea of the road she was about to embark on. Showcasing remarkable talent, the 5ft4 phenom developed at an astonishing pace, quickly excelling past her peers, earning a position in GB’s set-up, where she won the European championships.

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Phoebe Schecter reminisces on her time with Buffalo Bills and LeSean McCoy

Her innate understanding of the game caught the attention of Buffalo Bills, who, incredibly impressed with Schecter, couldn’t resist giving her the call. In a groundbreaking move, the sportswomen became the first British female to coach in the NFL, working with athletic titans, including McCoy.

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And Schecter can still remember her debut coaching fixture. In an exclusive interview with Sporf, she recalled: “It’s hard to ignore my first game-day. It was an away game at the Baltimore Ravens. It was a ‘pinch me’ moment. I’d seen it on the TV, but now I’m there. It was my bench; I was talking with my players. LeSean McCoy was on the team at that time, and we were throwing the ball around before the game. It felt surreal. There was a moment of, ‘I can actually do this. This is actually happening right now’. It was a pretty special memory.”

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Blessed with an unrivalled sporting IQ, Schecter settled in with ease, promptly earning the respect and admiration of her players.

She explained: “You can’t think about being a woman, because if you do, you’re not doing your job. I was part of an organisation that was really forward-thinking. At the end of the day, the NFL players want to know if you can get them better. So, they don’t care about what you look like. I earned that trust over a long period of time.”

Having achieved so much, Schecter is thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the next generation.

Phoebe Schecter launches NFL Girls Flag League in Manchester

Alongside The Chicago Bears, on April 23, the icon launched the inaugural NFL Girls Flag League in Manchester. And the occasion couldn’t have meant more to Schecter, who watched the competitors’ faces light up as they set their eyes on their brand-new jerseys.

The Sky Sports analyst beamed: “To think that an NFL team from Chicago has come over here, started a girls-only league and is giving them jerseys with their school logo on it. We never would’ve predicted this. What an honour for these young girls to have and think, ‘I look sick’. The swag is unreal today.”

Ultimately, Schecter’s inspirational tale is one of hard work and determination, that has paved the way for the future of the sport, with many of the girls involved, now targeting a spot at the 2028 LA Olympics.

Schecter explained: “It’s really full-circle for me because I started playing American Football here in Manchester 11 years ago now. So, to think that we could grow to have girls-only leagues is amazing. To have support from the Chicago Bears is incredible. I’m doing my best to provide opportunities. But these girls are the real inspiration. They’re the ones out here playing and showing how great it is to be a flag football athlete. Any one of them could have the chance to play for Great Britain at the Olympics. What an opportunity.”

Had the legend never come across that all-important advert, she may never have become the global phenom she is today. But one question still remains is Schecter still involved with horses?

She laughed: “I initially moved over here for horses. I worked at the Dutch Olympic team for three-day eventing. My only involvement now is that I adopted a pony when I was 13. She’s 23 now. She’s living a very fat life in a field. She loves British grass.”

Featured Image Credit: Pheobe Schecter / Getty