How Sarah Fuller is Paving a Path for Young Women Athletes


Natalie Abrahantes

Sarah Fuller made history for being the first women to play collegiate football at a Power 5 school. This achievement is a tribute to her work ethic and dedication to prove that anything is possible despite the obstacles.

Michael Evelyn, Staff Writer

Since its creation, football has been perceived as a man’s sport to play. The sport was invented by men, changed by men and played by men. While there is a separate league for women to play football, the National Football League has more viewers and has gained popularity over the women’s league. Despite all these setbacks, Sarah Fuller achieved a lifelong goal of many young female athletes and was the first female to participate in a power five level college game. With all the kickers for Vanderbilt being diagnosed with COVID-19, Fuller was offered a spot to kick for the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States with millions of people watching college and professional games. Many children across the country dream to become like the professionals they see on television. However, due to some gender stereotypes, females have been treated differently than men when it comes to the perception of their physical abilities on the sports field. Most girls who want to play football end up being forced to play flag football as a substitute for the high impact moments of the sport. These flag football teams are oftentimes less funded and an afterthought in comparison to tackle football teams, leading to most girls not getting the same training experience as boys. This is why since the beginning of the sport in 1869, there have not been any females to make it into the college or professional football rosters team.

When there are hardships in life, there are always people who are given the opportunity to go against societal norms and pave a path for other people who may not have had the opportunity to do so. One of these examples is Sarah Fuller.

I enjoyed watching the game, mainly because it is great to finally see a woman on the field making history. She could inspire other girls to pursue their dreams of participating in men’s sports.

— junior Isabella Flores

Sarah Fuller is a young female athlete who attends Vanderbilt University and recently made history. She did this by kicking off for Vanderbilt against Missouri on Nov. 28 as their kicker. At the start of the second half, Fuller was instructed to perform a squib kick, preventing the other team from performing a long return, and she was able to kick the ball over the heads of the Missouri players closest to her, landing the ball on the 35-yard line forcing the returner to fall to the ground.

Although Vanderbilt had lost 41-0 against Missouri, Sarah was named South Eastern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for her act of courage and bravery. This achievement showed many young female athletes that even if all the odds are stacked against them, they can still achieve their dreams. Not only did Sarah go out on the field making history, but she also won an award showing many young female athletes to not be afraid to step up. After her performance, Sarah is planned to kick again for Vanderbilt showing that this game was not a fluke, and she will be a regular player for the team despite the stereotypes surrounding her gender and the sport.

Sarah did not have an easy upbringing, either. She has always loved sports and is very athletic, which was proven as she played for the Vanderbilt soccer team before joining their football roster. After returning from her injury, she switched to the goalkeeper of the team, leading her to develop a very natural kicking form and allowing her to be offered a spot as a kicker while the other kickers recover from COVID-19. Despite the gender disparity in the number of females to males and her injuries, Sarah went out on the field to make history and pave the way for young female athletes to follow in her footsteps.

“I thought the kick was good. If I were able to play football then I would because she inspired me,” junior Natalie Verdesoto said.

Her achievement has shown many young female athletes that even if they have all the odds against them, they can reach their dreams and become the best. She was able to make history despite the fact that no woman has ever played in a college game, and she would be the first one. This took bravery and courage, which is why she won the award for her act of bravery. Sarah showed that even if she may be the weakest person on the field, in terms of physical power, she was able to play alongside the men who have always been able to play the sport without feeling the pressure of being different from everyone else.

Sarah Fuller has paved the way for young women trying to make their way into athletics who not have access to girls’ teams. She has shown these girls that you do not need to give up on your dream because of stereotypes. Sarah Fuller could go down in history for setting a new standard for both men and women to play sports together at both the collegiate and professional level in sports.