Sarah Fuller, head of Vanderbilt University, was featured in history as the first woman to play at the Power Five football game when the Commodores met the University of Missouri tiger on Saturday.
Fuller, who played football with training, joined the game after halftime as a substitute for Vanderbilt following the absence of players exposed to Covid-19.
The 21-year-old Texas player recently finished the football season as his team’s starting goalkeeper and helped the Commodores win their first SEC Women’s Championship since 1994.
Earlier this week, he acknowledged the magnitude of the moment, saying he would play the slogan “Play like a girl” on the back of his helmet. According to Fuller, the decision was a nod to Play Like a Girl, a nonprofit that aims to expose girls to opportunities in sports as well as educational and professional areas related to STEM.
Missouri won the game 41–0, leaving the Commodores 0–8 this season. But the Nashville institution did not miss an opportunity to highlight the historic moment. Women have previously played for college football teams, but have never been to a top conference with a team of such top quality.
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“Sarah Fuller. Remember the name,” the Vanderbilt Football team tweeted next to a photo of Fuller wearing the “Play Like a Girl” helmet.
After the game, Fuller told the SEC network he wasn’t upset when he took the field on Saturday to write history.
“Honestly, I was just very calm. The SEC tournament was more stressful,” he chuckled. “But I got on the field very excited and did my thing.”
“I represent little girls out there who wanted to do this or were really thinking about playing football or any sport,” he said. “I just want to tell all the little girls that you can do whatever you think you can really do. If you have that mentality all along, you can do great things.”
Variety and David K. Li consented.