NFL

Washington hires Natalia Dorantes as coordinator of football operations, becoming NFL's first Latina to be chief of staff

The Washington Football Team continues to diversify its staff under coach Ron Rivera.

The team announced Wednesday morning it hired Natalia Dorantes as the team’s coordinator of football operations. Working with the coaching staff and football operations, Dorantes will report directly to Rivera in a chief-of-staff role.

The 26-year-old Dorantes previously worked as a recruiting communications coordinator for the Texas A&M football team. She also worked in social media with the NFL and interned with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 and 2016.

Dorantes connected with Rivera virtually during the fifth annual NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum in February — underscoring the importance of the annual event — which led to the new job.

“I’m a very proud Latina, and that’s like the first thing I said,” Dorantes recalled of the meeting, via the team’s official website. “I was like, ‘As another Hispanic, I think it’s great that you’re in football because there’s not many of us, so thank you for that and thank you for being on the forum. It shows a lot that you’re just here supporting us.'”

Rivera realized last season while managing the club and battling cancer that he needed a right-hand person to help take some of the duties off his plate. Dorantes becomes that trusted voice.

“This is kind of new ground for us because I’ve never had a ‘chief of staff,'” Rivera said. “So I needed a person that’s gonna be able to interact with coaches, with coordinators and may have to say, quite honestly, ‘No, I don’t think Coach wants that,’ or ‘No, Coach doesn’t want that,’ you know what I mean? Because the one thing I want her to understand is that she’s going to have my voice, and I trust her.”

Dorantes becomes the latest female to land a high-profile NFL job and the first Latina working in a chief-of-staff type role in the NFL. She joins Jennifer King on Washington’s staff, who became the NFL’s first Black female assistant postilion coach earlier this offseason. Both King and Dorantes jumpstarted their careers with the NFL’s Women’s Careers in Football Forum.

“What this [forum] does is it puts more than qualified people, sometimes overqualified people, in front of us,” Rivera said. “As you look at these women and you look at their accomplishments and you look what they’ve done and you look at the willingness to work for nothing to get themselves in front of people because they want the opportunity, I think that’s important, and that’s why I do it, and it’s important to me because I want to make sure I do it right.”

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