Phoebe Schecter: Britain’s first NFL coach traces her rapid rise to the top of the sport | NFL News

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Phoebe Schecter, the NFL’s first British coach, talks to Her Huddle about her internship with the Buffalo Bills from 2018-2019 and the challenges women face in elite sport

Phoebe Schecter, the NFL’s first British coach, talks to Her Huddle about her internship with the Buffalo Bills from 2018-2019 and the challenges women face in elite sport

Phoebe Schecter is a former NFL coach – the first female British coach in the sport – she is captain of the Great Britain women’s team, flag football ambassador and now a presenter with Sky Sports and talkSPORT.

With so many strings to his bow, it would be easy to think that Schecter has it all figured out and that his journey so far was part of a meticulously laid out plan. This was not the case.

“I’m trying to figure out who I still am,” Schecter told Sky Sports on the latest episode of the His caucus podcast. “Every day I feel like I’m taking another step.”

Specifically, his first steps into American football came surprisingly late and under the strangest of circumstances when, 11 years ago, at the age of 22, Schecter first moved to the UK – to follow his first great passion, horses.

“It still doesn’t make sense to me,” Schecter said. “I got a job with a gentleman from the Dutch Olympic team for the three-day eventing.

“He was based here in Cheshire and it was probably about two months after he moved that I saw a social media advert for American football in Manchester.

“When you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re so much more willing to take risks. I had never played contact sports before, I didn’t know anything about American football, but I was looking for a way to get some friends and have a little fun with American culture.

“I had to move miles and miles to another country to fall in love with the sport.”

Phoebe Schecter was an intern coach with the Buffalo Bills from 2018 to 2019

Phoebe Schecter was an intern coach with the Buffalo Bills from 2018 to 2019

“I was like a deer in the headlights”

From such a rather surprising introduction to the game, she quickly got a hold of Schecter and eventually catapulted her to a two-year stint as a trainee coach with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.

“A lot of it was dedication,” Schecter said of his rapid rise to elite sports coaching.

“Once I found American football it was a case of ‘I love it, I’m so passionate about it,’ how do I make my career out of it and how do I make my career out of it and to be as close as possible to be?

“It’s been a lot of studying, a lot of behind the scenes work. I watch my first training camp and I didn’t know anything. I was like a deer in the headlights basically.”

Recalling one such moment, in particular, Schecter said, “I’ll never forget my first week at training camp. You don’t have much time to eat, so I would always go for a shake, an easy, filling thing. And I remember they had those annoying polystyrene cups; I kept trying to push the lid off and the thing exploded all over, all over me.

Tyrod Taylor was the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills in 2018

Tyrod Taylor was the quarterback for the Buffalo Bills in 2018

“Tyrod Taylor was our quarterback at the time, and it ended on him as well. It was around 6:15 a.m. and we were both there cleaning up all that dirt. I was mortified.”

“I felt like I couldn’t take the wrong foot”

It was precisely the type of slip-up that Schecter, mistakenly, felt she couldn’t commit as a woman in the NFL’s male-dominated environment.

“At that time, I really felt like I couldn’t take the wrong foot,” she said. “That I needed to go beyond everything – in a way because I felt like I was one of the first [women].

“I wanted others to have opportunities afterwards. Returning the favor was huge, because I wanted to make sure that no matter what, someone could eventually come and replace me.

“But barriers were never something that other people imposed on me. It’s always something that I imposed on myself.”

What helped Schecter grow in the role was Buffalo’s 2018 rookie class, which included superstar quarterback Josh Allen and Tremaine Edwards, as well as moldable young talents like Tre’Davious White and Dion Dawkins. who are only in their second year with the team. .

Watch Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen's best plays of the 2022 season

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Watch Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s best plays of the 2022 season

Watch Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s best plays of the 2022 season

“It’s a great organization. [the Bills]“, she added. “And look at my rookie class – Allen, White, Dawkins, Edwards – on the road, which ended up being almost my anchor in the sense that we were all rookies, growing up together.

“As I grew more confident in myself and in my role, it was about recognizing the value you bring to the team. For me, it was about understanding that my value had no to be Xs and Os.

“I’m someone who has great interpersonal skills, I’ll bring you consistency, positive energy – all the things you need when you’re potentially 4-6 halfway through the season, or no matter what it looks like.

“People can trust me and that’s been a big part of my understanding of my worth and my confidence in myself.”

“You have the ability to change people’s lives”

So what next for Schecter? She freely admits that she loves her new role as a broadcaster, saying “I love the analytics, being able to study the game with people”, but she also retains her passion for coaching.

“I love coaching,” she said. “He will never be replaced in my heart because you have the ability to change people’s lives and watch them grow and develop over a period of time.”

As for his own journey and his advice to anyone potentially keen to follow in his footsteps, Schecter urges people to “go out and try your luck,” in much the same way a certain 22-year-old did when he has moved thousands of miles. work with horses.

“I hope I can help influence people, whatever that means. At the end of the day, I’m just an average person,” she said.

“I did this, but that doesn’t mean anyone else couldn’t. It’s just about the steps you chose to take as an individual.

“I changed my life at the age of 22 when I moved to this country. I took a risk.

“Sometimes we get so stuck in our ways that we don’t want to push ourselves. There’s no straight line to success – you may have to let yourself down or move sideways – but other side, it’s so beautiful and so worthwhile.”

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