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Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller Becomes First Woman to Play Football for Power 5 School


Vanderbilt University’s Sarah Fuller made history as she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 college football game. Fuller took the field with the Commodores against Missouri’s Mason Pack on Saturday.

The Power 5 comprises the biggest and most popular athletic conferences. This includes the SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12, Big Ten, and Pac-12 conferences.

Fuller is a senior at Vanderbilt and the starting goalkeeper for their women’s soccer team. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason called on her after several of the team’s specialists were forced to stop practicing due to coronavirus testing.

During the game, Fuller wore “Play Like A Girl” on the back of her helmet in support of a nonprofit that encourages girls to play sports and take advantage of STEM opportunities. “It’s an honor they called on me to be able to do this and help them out,” she said after the game.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, you have witnessed history,” Vanderbilt Football tweeted on Sunday. The tweet showed a video of Fuller being congratulated on the sideline after the kick.

The Commodores ultimately lost the game 41-0. They are now 0-8 for the season. The team’s lack of offense didn’t allow for Fuller to attempt a PAT or field goal.

Vanderbilt alum Adena Friedman, the president and CEO of Nasdaq, called Fuller a “tremendous athlete and role model.” Messages flooded in support of her from the SEC, Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL, and tennis great Billie Jean King.

Other Women in the Game

Fuller is not the first woman to play college football in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). She is joined by the likes of Katie Hnida, the first woman to score in an FBS game as a place-kicker for New Mexico in 2003, and April Goss, who scored while playing for Kent State in 2015. 

Ashley Martin is credited as the first woman to score in an NCAA Division I football game. She is also one of the first women ever to score in a college football game.

Last year, soccer star Carli Lloyd practiced with the Philadelphia Eagles and even kicked a 55-yard field goal attempt.

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