Sarah Fuller is FULL of Historic Achievements

Sarah+Fuller+is+FULL+of+Historic+Achievements

Kaya Schultz, Editor in Chief

Last Sunday on November 22nd, the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team captured its first Southeastern Conference (SEC) women’s soccer title since 1994 with a 3-1 upset win over the number one seed Arkansas. After celebrating this amazing victory, the Vanderbilt players all headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with their families. All except one. Sarah Fuller, the starting goalie for the Commodores, was originally planning to head to her home in Wylie, Texas until she got a call from her coach asking if she wanted to kick for the Vanderbilt football team that weekend. Her response was, “I’ll be there within the hour.”

This was the start of the hype and praise that we are hearing about today. The news about the female kicker didn’t really get out until yesterday when Fuller announced it on her instagram. Within a day Fuller had accumulated over 100,000 instagram followers and received praise from some of the world’s best and most influential athletes such as Billie Jean King, Sue Bird, Dak Prescott, and Nick Folk. 

Fuller was asked to step up because the rest of the kicking squad had to stop practicing and could not suit up for today’s game when at least one of them came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. There is a possibility that we could see Fuller suit up for future games and she claims that she would still love the opportunity to kick a field goal, as she did not get the chance to in this game with the Commodores getting blown out 41-0. 

Despite Vanderbilt’s rough season, standing at 0-8, it is not to take away from their extremely difficult conference. Every year the SEC is full of the nation’s top football teams such as Alabama, LSU, Auburn, and Georgia. The SEC is a part of an elite collegiate group known as the “Power 5 Schools,” meaning that they are a part of the five most competitive conferences in the nation, which makes Fuller’s debut so special. She is the first woman to play in a Power 5 college football game. 

Before Fuller, there have been two other female kickers in Division I football. Katie Hnida was the first woman to make a collegiate football team when she attended the University of Colorado in 1999-2000. She then went on to transfer to the University of New Mexico where she became the first woman in NCAA history to score in a Division I game. Following her came April Goss who kicked for Kent State University from 2012–2015.

Although Fuller only got the opportunity to perform one kickoff, which she placed on the 35 yard line after being directed to execute a low kick, the impact she has had on gender barriers is immense. Joining Hnida and Goss as female athlete icons, Fuller was not afraid to step up and make history. The back of her helmet read, “Play Like a Girl,” which is exactly what Fuller did and is inspiring others to do. 

After the game Fuller stated, “It’s just so exciting that I can represent the little girls out there who wanted to do this or thought about playing football or any sport, really. I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to, you really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things.”