The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, December 14, 2020

Celebrating Sarah Fuller and the "other" football — Must-click woso links — Sarah Fuller's comments after her historic game

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This week’s The IX about the other football

Over the weekend Vanderbilt goalkeeper Sarah Fuller made history as the first women to score in a Power 5 football game, when she kicked two extra points for Vandy in a 42-17 loss to Tennessee.

Fuller already was a “first” when she had a low kickoff for Vandy in a Nov. 28 game.

“This whole time has been if I can do it, if I’m good enough to do it. It wasn’t if I was a girl or not. So that’s something I’ve really appreciated. At the end of the day, they treated me like an athlete and that’s the best I could ask for,” she said after the game.

Doesn’t matter that Vandy was winless this season, doesn’t matter that they barely had enough players to play. What does matter: Representation.

After she made her historic kick, a smart official on the field got her the game ball.

Fuller is not the first woman to play for a men’s college football team. That honor goes to Liz Heaston, who played in two games for Willamette, at the NAIA level, in 1987. A standout on the soccer team, she made two of four extra point attempts.

Ashley Martin became the first player at the Div. I-level when she made three extra point attempts for Jacksonville State in 2001. New Mexico’s Katie Hnida had a pair of points in a Div. I-A game against Texas State.

Hnida went on to become the second woman to play pro football, appearing in three games for the Fort Wayne Firehawks of the Continental Indoor Football League in 2010.

The first woman to play pro football on a man’s team was Patricia Palinkas, who was a holder for her husband, a placekicker for the Orlando Panthers of the Atlanta Coast Football League in 1970.

The reason I bring up the history is to show that yes, women have been knocking on this door for a while. Incremental steps are being made.

But also, I’m laying a foundation in case Carli Lloyd ever follows through and joins and NFL team. (I’m bookmarking this post! Ulterior motives at work.)

One last note: Lots of idiots out there tearing Fuller down, because of course they are. The same ilk whined about women in the locker room. They are just misogynists squawking for the attention. Don’t give it to them.

Oh, and here’s some peak CROSSOVER content! Fuller is a goalkeeper for Vandy, for context.

BTW, Naeher is a finalist for FIFA Best goalkeeper of the year.

And, speaking of awards, this was announced this week:

WHO WOULD YOU VOTE FOR? Let me know! I’m at, or at me on Twitter @AnnieMPeterson and my DMs are open. Genuinely interested in your opinion!

Now the links!


(Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. ESPECIALLY NOW, as newsrooms are forced to make difficult choices. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me!

First off, Keeper Notes has a handy-dandy gift guide for you favorite WoSo fan!

Women’s soccer set records for viewership. Now what? From CNBC.

The Chicago connection to the Royals’ move back to KC, from Annie Costabile of the Sun-Times.

My The IX colleague Howard Megdal on the Spirit becoming a destination team again, for Forbes.

Stephanie Yang for Stars and Stripes weighs in on the USWNT POY awards. Yang also spoke to Angel City’s Jess Smith for All for XI.

Suzanne Wrack spoke to Chelsea’s Pernille Harder for the Guardian. The Guardian counted down the best footballers of 2020. Worth looking at just because of the photo of Amandine Henry.

A roundup of the FA WSL action from this weekend.

Nancy Frostik writes for The Athletic about LGBT representation and why its important.

I wrapped up The IX last week before the official announcement of the Royals’ move to KC. Here are a few of the good stories:

Dan Lauletta with a nice piece for The Equalizer on the Royals’ rescue.

CONCACAF Launching a new women’s competition, also WWC qualifying deets.

Former Whitecaps and Canada soccer coach Bob Birarda has been charged after allegations of sexual abuse. Ciara McCormack, who I’ve spoken to in the past for the IX, has been talking about this for several years, and it’s good to see action.

Tweet of the Week—%20JJ%20Watt%20(@JJWatt)%20a%20href=

Five at The IX: Sarah Fuller after making history

Here’s Fuller’s postgame comments after making history.

Fuller: I was just super excited when we got that touchdown. I was ready to go out and roll. And the guys were super pumped up and encouraging. So I was very excited to get out there and finally do what I’ve been training for the past two weeks.

Question: Did you get the game ball?

Fuller: After all the chaos, one of the refs handed me the ball and I would like to keep it, if that’s possible. It’s pretty cool.

Question: Why the hesitation on the first PAT?

Fuller: I mean, I was just double checking if I was supposed to go out. Again, it was my first time taking a PAT. So just double checking.

Question: What was your excitement level knowing that this game you were going to get a chance?

Fuller: I’d say it was a little more nervous this game around. But once you step out on the field, I feel I could do a good job of blocking all that out, all the the nerves and everything. And course, all the guys are super awesome and super uplifting and stuff. So we were ready to go out there and just play football.

Question: How does making a PAT compare with soccer?

Fuller: Yeah, I’d say it’s like one of those like game-winning saves you have to make. That’s just, it could go either way at that point you got to make that big time save. So that’s probably the closest I can compare it to.

Question; What have the past three weeks been like?

Fuller: I’d say the past week or so, I was getting used to the schedule and everything, and getting to know the guys really well and we were just really clicking. So I don’t know, to sum it up I’d say it’s been a little chaotic, but I’m very thankful for every opportunity. And again, the whole Vanderbilt football staff has been incredible and it’s been an awesome journey.

Question: Will you be available next week against Georgia.

Fuller: I mean, if they want me, I’ll be there.

Fuller: I’d say probably last week I was getting was very critical of everything I was doing, you know, I was like, oh, this was where my plant foot was too far or I kicked it too much with my toe. But this week, I just really focused on just going out and kicking, like not thinking about it too much. I felt like I really got the technique down last week. So this week was just going out and doing my thing.

Question: Inaudible.

Fuller: I mean, that’s what they’ve done this entire time, the Vanderbilt football staff. This whole time it’s been, if I can do it, if I’m good enough to do it. It wasn’t if I was a girl or not. So that’s something I really appreciated. At the end of the day, they treated me like an athlete, and that’s the best I could ask for.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By Sarah Kellam @sarahkellam, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, @ELindsay08 NWHL Broadcaster

Written by Annie Peterson