All four Pla children are encouraged to pursue their passions, whether it's theater or football, George Pla said. Caroline's twin sister, Alexandra, uninterested in playing football, would prefer to remain on the sidelines as a cheerleader.
Tackling the boys-only rule is bigger than just letting her twin back on the gridiron, Alexandra said.
"She's trying really hard to let girls play football," she said. "I really like to watch her play, and the rule should be changed so anyone can play."
Rally 'round the girl
After calls and emails to the archdiocese were unsuccessful, Caroline, no longer welcome to play football for the CYO, decided to call an audible.
With the full support of her team, Caroline's mom, Seal Pla, started an online petition at change.org to encourage the archdiocese to allow girls to play football.
Her original goal was to get 100 signatures. There are now more than 100,000.
One signer is 9-year-old peewee football sensation Samantha "Sweet Feet" Gordon from Utah. She was recently featured on a Wheaties box and made a November appearance on "NFL Gameday Morning," where she showed off her moves to Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Warren Sapp. She also was invited to this year's Super Bowl in New Orleans, where she blogged for four days for espnW.com, which focuses on female athletes.
Even Philadelphia Councilman and devout Catholic Jim Kenney fired off an official letter to the archdiocese, saying the issue "hits close to home."
"The archdiocese is one of the last remaining defenders of gender discriminating in sports, so let us proudly take a giant leap forward in Catholic education today by purging this archaic rule from the CYO handbook," he wrote.
Caroline also caught the attention of talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
Sporting her navy and gold football jersey on set, Caroline won over the crowd during her appearance last month.
When asked whether she's gotten hurt, the crowd erupted when she quipped with a made-for-TV smile, "I've never really gotten hurt, but I have hurt people."
Could archdiocese cut back?
Caroline's fight to get back on the field hasn't swayed the archdiocese yet, but the panel selected by the archdiocese is expected to issue a decision on the boys-only rule by mid-March.
In a final appeal, Caroline, who also competes on CYO track and basketball teams, wrote to Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput after recently learning he would have the final say after the panel makes their recommendation.
In an email provided to CNN by the Pla family, Chaput told Caroline he was "perplexed" that she wrote to him only after going to the media.
"I admire your love of the game, Caroline, and I'm impressed by your zeal in pursuing the opportunity to play it," he wrote. "At the same time, it's important to understand that pressure is not a good way of showing respect for dedicated people who are simply fulfilling their duty to protect young people in sports."
The chiding seems to ignore that Caroline's parents wrote the archdiocese, to no avail, before taking their daughter's cause public, the Plas said.
Though it's now basketball season for Caroline, she isn't giving up her fight. She's not being disrespectful when she says the archbishop's claim that he's just trying to protect her doesn't ring true.
"I was just really surprised that we're not allowed to play because we're girls," Caroline said. "They say it's a safety issue, but I don't get that because it's not just a safety issue for us; it's a safety issue for anybody that goes on to the field."