COLUMBIA, Mo. — Sarah Fuller made college football history on Saturday, becoming the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game.
Fuller, 21, of Wylie, Texas, kicked off to open the second half of Vanderbilt’s 41-0 loss to Southeastern Conference foe Missouri, The Tennessean reported. It was a squib kick to the Missouri 35-yard-line.
The senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt’s SEC championship soccer team said she was calm but excited as she took the field.
“Honestly, it’s just so exciting,” Fuller told reporters. “The fact that I can represent all the girls out there that have wanted to do this or thought about playing football or any sport really, and it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this, it’s awesome.”
“I want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to,” she said. “Like, you really can. If you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things.”
Fuller practiced with the team this week after COVID-19 contact tracing left the school with “a limited number of specialists,” The Tennessean reported.
On Aug. 30, 2001, Ashley Martin became the first woman to score points at the Division I level when she kicked three extra points for Jacksonville State against Cumberland. Two years later, Hnida became the first woman to score points at the FBS level when she kicked two extra points against Texas State, ESPN reported.
In 1997 Liz Heaston kicked two extra points for Willamette, then an NAIA program, The Tennessean reported.
Last Sunday, Fuller led the Commodores to the SEC tournament title. On Saturday, she wore No. 32 on her helmet and had the phrase, “Play Like a Girl” on the back of her helmet.
“She’s been playing soccer since she was 4 years old. She’s been playing football for about four days,” Sarah’s mother, Windi Fuller, said during ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” “So it’s been an experience and a huge learning curve for her.”