College football needed an uplifting, exciting and empowering story, and Sarah Fuller of Vanderbilt University delivered it Saturday, becoming the first woman ever to play in a Poser Five football game.
The senior goalie for the Vanderbilt soccer team had been living a fairly anonymous life under the radar screen. She had a phenomenal soccer career, and last Sunday she led her team to the SEC championship after Vandy won the tournament’s title game. Then, after COVID-19 contact tracing decimated the football roster, the Commodores needed an emergency kicker to suit up and play in the game Saturday at Missouri, so they asked Fuller if she’d be interested in putting on some shoulder pads and helmet and helping out.
She said “yes,” and suited up in her No. 32 football jersey, with the phrase “Play Like a Girl” written across the back of her helmet, she took the field for the second half kick-off and lined a squib kick to the Missouri 35-yard line.
“The SEC championship was more stressful if I’ve got to be honest,” Fuller said. “I was really excited to step out on the field and do my thing.”
That kickoff was the extend of her action in the 41-0 loss to Missouri, but it made history. There have been several women who have seen action in college football games, but not at this level in the most elite conference in the country. “She’s been playing soccer since she was 4 years old. She’s been playing football for about four days,” Sarah’s mother, Windi Fuller, said on ESPN.
Fuller’s athletic career is not over. She will next play for the Vandy soccer team in the NCAA tournament, which has been moved to the Spring because of the coronavirus. Unless the Tennessee Titans need her in a pinch to kick in an NFL game!