There is a large rising number of girls playing football in just the last year. Football remains a male-dominated sport, even though there are lots of girls now playing football, with no women in the N.F.L. In Utah they now have a football team just for girls, “the Utah girls tackle football league” created by Sam Gordon. This inspired another all girls football team, the Indiana Girls tackle football league. Both of these teams show that there is a space for girls in the game of football.
Asheville is now recognizing this, in Asheville City Schools we have the first girl on the Asheville Middle School team, Gaby Harper, number 1. Gaby told me that even though she's the only girl on the team, she feels just as included as everyone else on the team. She decided to join because she had always enjoyed the sport while growing up, but something that stuck out was in 6th grade when she was playing flag football in P.E. and a couple of people noticed how great she was at playing football, and said that she should try out. So she took it into consideration and look where she is now!
There have been incidents where girls have to sue certain football teams because the coaches would not allow a girl to play. It can be really hard to get onto a football team, especially if you are a female.
Gaby loves playing football because it helps her deal with pent up stress and anger on the field instead of in school where she could get in trouble. Also, she has taken inspiration from lots of male football players. She has learned a lot from Sam Gordon who created The Utah Girls Tackle Football League. She is unsure if she will continue to play in high school, but only time will tell. There are people that do doubt her ability to play football and ask questions like “do you actually play, or do you just sit on the sidelines?”
You'll just have to go to a game and see for yourself!
Story by Olivia Crosson