Sowers, who will also become the first openly gay coach in any male pro team sport, played pro football in the Women’s Football Alliance and helped lead the U.S. to the women’s world title and gold medal in 2013. She was later hired as general manager of the Kansas City Titans of the World Football Alliance.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 22, 2017
In 2016, she worked as a scouting intern with the Atlanta Falcons. When she was appointed to the 49ers position earlier this month, she thanked Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli on Facebook:
“I was blessed to begin my journey in the NFL because of a close friend and mentor in Scott Pioli. Scott’s passion for equal opportunity and his belief in a small town girl from Kansas, allowed me the opportunity to follow my passion. Scott continues to do amazing work, opening doors and breaking down walls in the NFL that for years have shut people out.
“I think we could all learn a little from people like Scott Pioli and find a way to open doors for those behind us. The most important words you can ever tell someone is ‘I believe in you.’ Scott, I know the best way that I can repay you is by continuing to open the door for others and I will do my best to continue what you have started and what you continue to do.”
On her time with the Falcons, Kyle Shanahan – then the team’s offensive coordinator, now 49ers head coach – said:
“She did a really good job for us in Atlanta. She’s done a real good job here. She helps [wide receivers coach/passing game specialist] Mike LaFleur out just with some rotations. She helps our quality controls with all the stuff they have to do. She’s a hard worker. You don’t even notice her because she just goes to work and does what’s asked and because of that she’s someone we would like to keep around.”
49ers fan upset over gay coach: "Makes it extremely difficult for me to like football anymore." 2-14 didn't do it? https://t.co/ByMMxpZQaW
— Outsports (@outsports) August 22, 2017
When asked by Outsports why she is discussing her sexual orientation for the first time, Sowers said:
“No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are. 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.”
She added she believes the NFL would accept an openly gay male coach. “What most people need to remember,” she said, “is that the NFL is a place of work for these players and it is a job that provides for their families. They are professionals and what you will find is they act like professionals in everything they do.”
Watch an interview with Sowers below.