Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play at any of college football’s Power 5 conferences during a regular season game by kicking off Vanderbilt on Saturday to start the second half against Missouri.
Fuller, a senior and starting goalkeeper for Vanderbilt’s women’s soccer team, was tapped into playing soccer this week after every member of the Commodores’ kicking team was forced to stop training when at least one of them came into contact with someone who tested positive Coronavirus.
Fuller wore the number 32 – the same number as the one she uses on her soccer jersey – and a helmet that said, “Play like a girl. ”
Fuller helped Vanderbilt win the Southeastern Conference women’s football title for the first time since 1994 with a 3-1 win over Arkansas last Sunday. She was planning on returning to Wylie, Texas for Thanksgiving when her soccer coach called her and had a chance to kick that weekend. she told the school. Her parents watched the game from the stands on Saturday as their kick-off whistled for the 35-yard line from Missouri.
“I was just very calm,” she said of the kick. “The SEC championship was more stressful.”
She added, “Honestly, it’s just so exciting that I could represent for all of the little girls out there that they can really play football or any sport.”
Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason said of Nashville 102.5 The game On Wednesday, he was impressed with how Fuller made the swift transition from soccer to soccer after the SEC tournament. “She’s a champion when talking to Sarah. No pun intended,” he said.
Fuller isn’t the first woman to play college football in Division I: Katie Hnida was the first woman to score a goal in a Division I game while playing for New Mexico in August 2003 April Goss scored while playing for Kent State in 2015. Becca Longo was the first woman to acquire an N.C.A.A. Football scholarship to a Division II school when she signed with Adams State as a foosball player in 2017 (she never entered school due to an injury and joined the Gila River Hawks of the Hohokam Junior College Athletic Conference in 2019).
Vanderbilt was blown out by Missouri 41-0 and Fuller had no opportunity to score a field goal. Vanderbilt is 0-8 this season.
Fuller’s hasty inclusion on the team was an example of how much the virus has impacted college football this season. The Commodores were originally intended to play the University of Tennessee, but that game has been postponed to accommodate more Shifts elsewhere in the SEC as teams are fighting to contain the virus. Other conferences, like the Big Ten and Mountain West, have easy Games canceled amid outbreaks while the Ivy League has stopped all autumn and winter sports this year.
“Contact tracing continues to be the biggest contributor to game disruptions,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in one Press release on the schedule On Monday. “We will continue to manage the remaining weeks of the football schedule so that as many games as possible can be played.”
The virus has increased across the country in the past few weeks. In Tennessee, where Vanderbilt is located, hospital administrators released one open letter to residents on Wednesday I urge them to limit gatherings and wear masks. In the Dr. Wright Pinson, the chief health system officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in Middle Tennessee rose 72 percent last month, and only further increases are expected in the coming months Weeks.
“If this trend continues, our hospital systems could soon be overwhelmed and this would affect our ability to care for all patients, not just those with Covid-19,” the doctors said in the letter.
“Be as confident as possible, don’t worry about anything,” Folk said in a video the Patriots posted on Twitter.