On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Becca Longo is believed to be the first female in football’s history to earn a scholarship, after signing a letter of intent to play NCAA Division II football at a top-tier school.
This history-making event took place during a ceremony at Basha High School in Chandler, as Longo was introduced as the first woman of intent to play football at a Division II level college or higher.
Women have played in minor league football games in the past. However, they were only walk-ons. Longo was the field goal kicker for her Arizona high school team. She transferred from another school at the beginning of her junior year, so she had to sit on the bench until her senior year.
Longo was given the opportunity to play and made 30 out of 33 point-after attempts and hit a 30-yard field goal. This teenage athlete also has tremendous talent on the basketball court and is looking forward to playing both sports at ASU.
Longo sent a highlight video to Adams University, which caught the attention of head coach Tim Rosenbach. Rosenbach was the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals in 1990 when the team was the Phoenix Cardinals.
Longo is a fan of Rosenbach’s and follows him on social media. The school and the coach were equally impressed with her accomplishments. In an interview with CNN, the head coach stated that Longo has been forthcoming, letting everyone know her passion for the game. If she can compete with their expectations, then she deserves this opportunity.
Rosenbach’s focus is on her talents and abilities. He had little interest in this historic first or Longo’s gender. The passionate athlete will also play basketball next year at the university.
Longo said, if a woman wants to play any sport, that is dominated by men, then they should just go out and play the game they love. Her message is not to let anyone or anything stand in the way of one’s hopes and dreams. Longo believes in following her passion and not allowing negativity to interfere saying, “just go do what you love.”
Longo is the first female to sign a letter of intent to play in the NCAA above Division II. However, there were a few girls who played tackle football in the history of the game. Angela Cochran was 12 years old when she made her mark in the dominated male sport. Young Cochran played No. 80, and was the nose-guard and left defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs in Colo. On Sept. 11, 1975, she made the local papers. The opposing team’s quarterback handed the ball off to his fullback, and Cochran fended off a double team block, tackling the fullback behind the line of scrimmage. Pictured with her on crutches is the Chiefs quarterback.
According to the 12-year-old, who was nervous with the cameras pointing at her, she felt she did not play well. She told her team she would play better in the next half and she kept her word. The Young Football star made 10 tackles and gained 10 yards on a pass reception. Even though No. 80 gave a memorable performance, the Chiefs lost that game 12-0.
The first girl to be widely recognized for playing in an all-boys tackle football league was Samantha ‘Sweet feet,’ Gordon. This pint size athlete received nationwide attention thanks to the World Wide Web aka the internet. General Mills put her picture on a Wheaties cereal box, and at 12 years old, she was the first girl to complete the University of Michigan’s football training camp.
Commissioner Roger Goodall invited her to be his guest at the Super Bowl when she was nine years old. Gordon also excels on the soccer field and is presently still in high school. It is not known if she will be offered a Division I, II, III football scholarship.
Longo has made her mark in history by doing what she loves to do. No other female has been afforded a scholarship in Division II or higher for the NCAA. Young Cochran became the first girl to play in an all-boys tackle football league. Gordon, who was the first to receive nation-wide attention, continues to excel in tackle football and has even started her own all-girls tackle football league.
By Katherine Miller
Edited by Tracy Blake
The Huffington Post: 12-Year-Old Football Star on Why Girls Should Play Sports
ABC News: Groundbreaking female football player Becca Longo’s advice to young girls: Don’t listen to all the negativity
CNN: Female kicker makes history with college scholarship
Rocky Mountain News: Angie 12 plays mean defense – Sept. 11, 1975
USA Today: Sam Gordon is back, and now she has her own league
Top Image Courtesy of sgrace’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Angela Stanton – Used With Permission
Featured Image courtesy of John M. Quick – Creative Commons License