“You Play Ball Like A Girl!”

Congratulations to Sarah Fuller! Photo Courtesy: Innovation_School

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

On Saturday morning, November 28, 2020 on a chilly day at Memorial Stadium, Vanderbilt used a soccer player to kick the ball off to Missouri to start the second half the game. This wasn’t a regular start for a normal college game after half time. They played the first female player in Division 1 to play in a Power 5 football game. Sarah Fuller is a game changer. She’s a national champion as a goalie for the Vanderbilt Women Soccer team. “I wanted to show the girls across the country that you do can what ever you set your mind to, you really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things,” Sarah shared after the game, a 41-0 loss for the Commodores. She was the only kicker that traveled with the team because the other four eligible kickers: Pierson Cooke, Wes Farley, Oren Milstein and Javan Rice were out because they tested positive for COVID. “She’s been with team team a week” Head Coach Derrick Mason said. “She just won the Southeastern Conference Tournament last weekend with the women’s soccer team.” Fuller said afterwards that she was more nervous for her last soccer game than she was for her first football game. Coach Mason reached out to the Head Soccer Coach Darren Ambrose for some help, and Fuller agreed to give it a try. No woman has ever appeared in a SEC football or for any Power 5 team prior to this.

She’s Not The Only One
On October 18, 1997, Liz Heaston became the first woman to play and score in a college football game. She scored by kicking two extra points for Willamette in NAIA. Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with extra points for New Mexico. April Goss was second with an extra point for Kent State in 2010. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on September 13, 2003.

Moving Forward
This will not be the last time you will see a woman in college football. There will be others playing in different positions. You may never know. The world has changed and women have come to the forefront in every part of the sports world. The Miami Marlins just hired Kim Ng as their first female General manager. Anything is possible in the world especially in the world of sports!