• Julianna Sabino

Sarah Fuller Breaks the Gender Barrier in College Football

Recently there’s been a lot of hype with the Vanderbilt Commodores’ new addition to their football team. 21-year-old Sarah Fuller recently joined the Vanderbilt football team to be a place kicker for their Power Five Conference game.

Fuller started playing sports at a young age, and she has always constantly played soccer. Her coaches were very impressed with her strength when kicking as well. Fuller grew up in Wylie, Texas and attended Wylie High School. She played goalie for two years and was crowned 2017 District 6-6A Goalkeeper of the Year. After that, Fuller received a scholarship to Vanderbilt University to play for their soccer team.

Sarah continued playing in high school and ultimately ended up playing for Vanderbilt’s girl’s soccer team. Up until recently, the Vanderbilt football coach needed a place kicker for the team. With all of his replacement players unavailable, he had to find another option. With limited options, he called up the girls soccer team and recruited Sarah Fuller. Although she only played a couple of games, Sarah made history. On November 28, 2020, against the Missouri College Tigers she was the first woman to play in a Power Five Conference game. She then later against Tennessee's Volunteers football team became the first woman to score in a Power Five Conference football game . It was a very big accomplishment not only for her, but for other young women out there, especially those interested in sports.

Although Sarah Fuller made history with her time with the Vanderbilt Commodores football team, Fuller received a tremendous amount of hate. Her gender really bothered people; they criticized that she was not good enough and they wanted her to “get rocked.” Fuller said the negative comments don’t really get to her, but they are difficult some of the time to ignore. Fuller tries her best to brush off the comments that get thrown at her because she does believe in her heart that she has earned her spot on the team. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 Fuller's football career came to an abrupt end because there weren't enough players to fill the roster, causing Vanderbilt to cancel their remaining games. Although she was able to play only two games, she was still very grateful for the experience and will continue to play soccer.

As for her personal life, Sarah is majoring in Medicine and Health & Society. Sarah also partnered up with Play Like A Girl and wore a helmet that says “play like a girl” because she felt like it would empower women to follow in her footsteps. She wants young girls and women to continue playing sports. Fuller is a role model and continues to do so by promoting the Play Like A Girl nonprofit organization. Play Like A Girl offers STEM programs for girls and women. Sarah had a great run playing for the Vanderbilt Commodores, but she recently signed to North Texas Mean Green, and she will begin playing soccer with them as a transfer graduate. Though her time playing football has come to an end, Sarah Fuller will forever make history and inspire girls and women all over the world.

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