October 1, 2014 / 7:04 PM / 5 years ago

Indianapolis youth league says to maintain ban on girls in football

(Reuters) - An Indianapolis youth sports organization will maintain its ban on girls playing football for now, its director said on Wednesday after supporters said a girl should be allowed to keep playing on her school team.

Cece Lucia debuted as a kicker for St. Simon the Apostle grade school at a game on Sunday. The Catholic Youth Organization that oversees the league then warned the team it would forfeit any future games where it fielded a girl player.

Ed Tinder, executive director of the Catholic Youth Organization for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, told Reuters the organization constantly reviews its policies.

“Presently, no girls are allowed to play football,” Tinder said.

While it is still rare, girls in the United States occasionally play on elementary and high school football teams. In 2012 there were 1,804 girls playing football for their high school teams, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

After Lucia was told she could no longer play football for St. Simon, her siblings used social media to plead her case and rally support.

Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee and Katie Hnida, the first woman to play NCAA Division I football, were among prominent athletes who tweeted support for Lucia.

“She kicks better than anyone I have seen, especially since it’s 30-40 yards of the field,” sister Madeleine Lucia posted on Facebook. “If you’re ready to help change this discrimination please let me know!”

Neither the school nor the Lucia family returned messages seeking comment.

Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville; Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Andrea Ricci

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