NFL combine to see first female participant

02/20/2013 2:41 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

New York native Lauren Silberman will participate in the NFL's regional scouting combine in New Jersey on March 2-3, becoming the first woman to take part in one of the events since their debut in 2011.

Silberman, 28, was a club soccer player at the University of Wisconsin, and will attend the regional combine as a kicker. She is the first to do so following a NFL rule change that allows women to compete, but told that she was somewhat disappointed about being a pioneer.

"I was actually hoping that the 2012 historical milestone rule, to allow women to play, would prompt more women to attend tryouts this year," Silberman told "But for me, what's important is to finally have a chance to fulfill my dreams by trying out to play in the world's most competitive football league."

Silberman is already somewhat of an athletic pioneer; after graduating from Wisconsin, she attended graduate school at MIT and wrote a master's thesis on athletes using video games to improve performance, later parlaying that research into the launch of her own consulting company, Double Play, which assists athletes with similar virtual performance training.

She is considered a longshot to be chosen as one of the New Jersey regional's top players and advance to the Super Regional in Dallas, but even if the venture isn't a success, Silberman hopes she can find another way to impact the NFL.

"The opportunity to attend this event could not be more exciting," she said. "Getting to meet interesting people and perfect my technique from others could not be more rewarding. Regardless of the outcome of the tryout, I hope there is a way I can contribute and strengthen the league."

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