Sarah Fuller plans to keep kicking for Vanderbilt football team
Sarah Fuller, the first woman to appear in a Power 5 football game, plans to keep kicking for Vanderbilt “until they kick me off.”
Fuller spoke with media Sunday, a day after she’d kicked off to start the second half for the Commodores against Missouri. Before joining the Vanderbilt football team, Fuller played goalkeeper for the school’s SEC champion women’s soccer team. Now, she’s planning to continue donning her No. 32 jersey and helmet with the words “Play like a girl” written on the back.
“I’ll stay around as long as they want me,” Fuller said Sunday, according to USA Today.
There wasn’t a chance Saturday for Fuller to join the two woman who have scored points in Division I football games, New Meixco’s Katie Hinda and Kent State’s April Goss, because Vanderbilt didn’t get into scoring position against the Tigers. But during her football debut, Fuller discussed with coaches the prospect of sticking with the team, she said Sunday.
Fuller plans to study film of NFL kickers, and she could get another chance to kick when Vanderbilt plays Georgia on Saturday, Dec. 5.
The story of Fuller kicking for Vanderbilt began well before Saturday. She’d had to overcome breaking both of her feet and other injuries to play consistently for Vanderbilt women’s soccer as a senior after appearing in just two games her first three years, telling USA Today on Sunday that “there are hard times when you want to quit.” Then there was the recent bus ride Fuller was on with her soccer teammates, watching Vanderbilt football play, when she announced to her team that she felt she could do what she was watching.
And Fuller was more than a kicker for Vanderbilt on Saturday. She also gave an impassioned halftime speech in which she said she used her “goalie voice.” Fuller told ESPN’s Courtney Cronin about the full speech in an answer shown in the tweet below.
I just got off a Zoom call with Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller, who detailed the halftime speech she gave and the reception it received.
"I had coaches come up to me and say 'I’ve been wanting to say that for awhile now,'" Fuller said. pic.twitter.com/AjoEEjJbeh
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) November 29, 2020
Since making her debut for Vanderbilt football, Fuller said she’s heard from several notable athletes, including Billie Jean King, Mia Hamm and Tim Howard. She also noticed Hope Solo standing up for her on Twitter.
“I had a little talk back and forth (with Howard) and I was like, ‘I’m talking to Tim Howard right now, how insane,'” Fuller told media Sunday. “Hope Solo was defending me on Twitter at one point. I was like, ‘What? Hope Solo! So cool.'”
Vanderbilt’s final game of the season, at Georgia, might not present many scoring chances, either. Whether Fuller gets to line up for a field goal or extra point remains to be seen. But all it took was one kick Saturday for Fuller to make history and provide inspiration.
“Girl dads have come up to me and said, ‘You are inspiring my girls. I want them to know they can do anything, and you are proving that point,’” Fuller told USA Today. “That’s the coolest thing.