Sarah Fuller becomes first woman ever to play in a power 5 football game

Sarah Fuller made sports history as she was the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game on Nov. 28.

The Vanderbilt University senior delivered the opening kickoff of the second half when Vanderbilt faced Missouri.

The Power 5 is a group of the five most popular and talented football conferences in collegiate football: The Southeastern Conference, Big Ten Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference and Pac-12 Conference.

Fuller is no stranger to sports; she has been a part of the Vanderbilt women’s soccer team as their goalkeeper. She made her first appearance on the soccer team on October 11 and helped her soccer team win their first SEC tournament championship since 1994.

“Honestly, it’s just so exciting,” Fuller said after the team’s 41-0 loss, “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.”

Vanderbilt football head Derek Mason said that adding Fuller wasn’t for publicity or for making history.

The Commodores had to follow COVID-19 protocols which left very few options at the kicking position. Mason offered Fuller a spot on the football team and ultimately landed the starting kicking job for the Commodores.

“I think there was something bigger at work here,” said Mason. “I’ve always believed that women are capable of doing fantastic things. I know we think of football as being a man’s sport, and it is for the most part — 99.9% of it is dominated by males, if not close to 100. But today she broke some history, she made some history.”

Fuller went into the game with a custom sticker on the back of her helmet which said, “Play Like a Girl.”

Fuller’s kick blew up the social media world and many celebrities took notice and gave their congratulations to Fuller.

Former First Lady, Hilary Clinton, congratulated Fuller via Twitter. “Thank you, Sarah, for helping prove that women and girls belong on every playing field– quite literally.”

Fuller is just the third woman to play in Division I NCAA football. The two other women, Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State.