Vanderbilt soccer star Sarah Fuller made history on November 28 by being the first female player to ever play in a Power 5 game. Fuller’s kick took place at the beginning of the third quarter to start off the second half of the game. Fuller joined the Vanderbilt roster only a few days before Saturday’s game. The reasoning behind adding her to the team was that all of Vanderbilt’s eligible kickers entered quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. A virus that has taken over people’s lives opened up a new possibility for the young player.
Fuller is not the first female rostered on a college football team but the most recent since 2019 when Toni Harris signed with a four-year college and was given a scholarship to play football. Before 2019, the last female college football player in the spotlight was Liz Heaston back in 1997. Heaston was the very first woman to play and score in a college football game, making history for young women everywhere.
The players and coaches of the Vanderbilt football team had a lot of respect for Fuller, not just for stepping up to play, but also for being a leader on the sidelines. She did not take a backseat in her once in a lifetime experience. At times Fuller would be the only person on the sidelines trying to rally up the team and get them fired up. “If I’m going, to be honest, I was a little pissed off at how quiet everybody was on the sideline,” Fuller said. She was not the only person that felt as if the team had no spirit. Coaches came up to her after the game and told her that they felt the same way as she did.
Allowing Sarah Fuller to play on the Vanderbilt men’s football team will go down as a historic moment in sports history. Vanderbilt ends the year with a movement that all colleges should continue with for the following years, allowing women to play on male sports teams. Not only colleges should follow this movement, but local high schools. Female athletes should be allowed to try-out for men’s teams because they have what it takes to play the sport at a high level.