Dot tackler helps propel US bid for world football title

While the boys are still playing for the World Cup in South Africa, the girls will be playing a different kind of football on the other side of the planet.

The International Federation of American Football kicked off their first ever Women’s World Championship in Stockholm, on Sweden, June 27. The tournament will run until July 4. Dorchester resident, Kelly Barker is on the roster for Team USA. Make no mistake, this is women’s only, full contact, gridiron football and Barker’s 6’ 2” 220 lb frame will not let you forget it.

“It’s kind of cool when you tell people about [women’s football] because a lot of people don’t even know it exists,” said Barker, who will play right tackle. Barker is a native of Billerica, MA. She moved to Dorchester after attending Bentley College where she graduated with a marketing degree.

A lifelong athlete, Barker’s has been involved in several sports, including a pro basketball league in Netherlands. She began playing football after joining a flag football team in Jamaica Plain in 2004, a sport that felt right at home for the 30-year old. She currently plays as a lineman and serves as a captain for the Boston Militia of the Independent Women’s Football League.

“My dad was a football coach and my brother played in high school...I was always involved in some way, so finding a women’s football league was the best thing ever,” she said.

Barker was selected as one of the 45 women who are playing for the US team, out of 350 who applied during a trail that resembled more of a college application process than a football tryout, complete with resumes and letters of recommendation. She is joined by two of her Militia teammates, running back Mia Brickhouse and linebacker Molly Goodwin.

Barker remains confident about her future success, and she backs it up. Team USA dominated its first game against Austria on Sunday, June 27 with a 63-0 win. “One thing that I’ve learned is that there no limit to what you can do,” she said.

Team USA’s next matchup is against Finland on July 1. Fans can follow the tournament on facebook at www.facebook.com/IFAFWWC. The tournament is live streamed at http://www.lgsports.se/