Watch: Ellen DeGeneres and Female Footballer Take on Catholic Patriarchy
Eleven-year-old Caroline Pla has been playing football since she was five years old. She has always loved the sport, and for the past two years, has been the only girl on the Romans Football team, organized by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Catholic Youth Organization in Doylestown, Pa.
But according to an archaic rule from a CYO handbook the archdiocese conveniently stumbled upon that allegedly says "football is for boys" because girls, fragile beings that they are, might get hurt, this season could be the sixth-grader's last on the field.
The junior varsity defensive end and offensive guard wasn't willing to let the Catholic patriarchy stop her from playing the sport she loves, though. So after several unproductive meetings with CYO officials, the Plas took to the web.
Caroline's mother, Seal, created a petition on Change.org calling on the diocese to end its discrimination and allow girls to play football. That petition now has more than 68,000 signatures, including Ellen DeGeneres', who hosted the youth athlete on her show earlier this week.
When DeGeneres asked Pla if she's ever been seriously injured, the 11-year-old smiled wryly.
"I've never really gotten hurt," said Pla. "But I have hurt people."
Watch Pla win over DeGeneres and the whole audience with her composure, reason, and clear passion for the game, in the video below. And if you believe that sports should be equal-opportunity, be sure to sign the Plas' petition here.