Woman Makes History as First to Play in a Power 5 Football Game
For the first time ever, a woman played in a Power 5 football game.
Over the weekend, Vanderbilt University’s Sarah Fuller delivered the opening kickoff of the second half of a game against Missouri. Just days earlier, she wasn’t even a member of her school's team.
Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt's SEC championship women's soccer team, was sought out by Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason’s team last month after his roster lost several players due to COVID-19 testing results. According to ESPN, he was in need of a kicker.
After Fuller agreed to attend a practice and performed well enough, she was added to the team’s travel roster as the sole kicker; the move made her the third woman to ever participate in an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football game.
Fuller spoke to SEC Network after the game and called the whole thing “so exciting,” despite the team’s 41-0 loss.
"The fact that I can represent the little girls out there that have wanted to do this or thought about playing football — or any sport really — and it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this," she said. "So, it's awesome.”
Of the kickoff itself, Fuller said she felt “calm” and “excited to do her thing.” She went on to tell “all the girls out there” that they can do “big things” and anything they set their mind to.
After the game, Mason showed support for Fuller’s efforts and called her a “trooper” for joining the team so last minute.
"I think there was something bigger at work here," said Mason, as per ESPN. "I've always believed that women are capable of doing fantastic things. I know we think of football as being a man's sport, and it is for the most part — 99.9 percent of it is dominated by males, if not close to 100. But today she broke some history, she made some history."