ALA fields its first fe­male foot­ball player

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Bryce Walker

Watch­ing Re­bekah Car­roll kick the ball into the goal is noth­ing un­usual. But now she is do­ing it on both the soc­cer field and the foot­ball field.

Last June, she was prac­tic­ing soc­cer with her dad Daniel Car­roll, who teaches math and is an as­sis­tant soc­cer coach at Amer­i­can Lead­er­ship Acad­emy in Span­ish Fork. They chat­ted about how it might be fun for Re­becca to kick a foot­ball. Fast for­ward to Au­gust, and her soc­cer coach Stephen Pem­ber­ton got in­volved.

Re­bekah re­mem­bers, “Hon­estly, I wasn’t re­ally even con­sid­er­ing it, and then one day after prac­tice Coach Pem­ber­ton said, ‘Why don’t you try kick­ing a foot­ball through the up­rights?’”

She was a nat­u­ral. The next day, the truth came out. ALA’s kicker Joseph Valle was in­jured. Head Foot­ball Coach Billy Nixon showed up to watch Re­bekah kick. She was knock­ing them through the goal­post from all over the field. Her long­est was from the 35 yard line.

“So Coach Nixon and Coach Palmer (spe­cial teams) said they’d give me a chance and I got to join the team as the kicker just two weeks be­fore the first game,” Re­becca said with a smile. “And yes, I’ve played soc­cer for about 10 years, but it’s the first time I’ve ever played foot­ball.”

Said Coach Nixon, “It is great she is not do­ing this for at­ten­tion or to make a po­lit­i­cal state­ment. Bekah is do­ing this be­cause she has a de­sire to help the pro­gram and make us bet­ter.”

But is Bekah re­ally mak­ing the ALA Ea­gles bet­ter? In her first time on the field, she got the call fol­low­ing a touch­down to try for the ex­tra point. “It was blocked. I kicked it into the line,” she ad­mit­ted. “It was just nerves. But then I set­tled down and hit the next two PATs.” The Ea­gles beat the Al­ta­mont Longhorns 34–0.

En­thu­si­asm for this sea­son is run­ning high. “This will be ALA’s best foot­ball team, and I am grate­ful to have such an awe­some ath­lete in our pro­gram,” Coach Nixon said. “I’m just grate­ful I have the op­por­tu­nity to coach her.”

When her dad was asked how he felt about her play­ing foot­ball, Daniel Car­roll said, “My wife and I are very proud of her.” Then, with­out any warn­ing, he fol­lowed up with, “Bekah is just itchin’ to hit some­one.”

“After the kick­off, I’m usu­ally the last one down the field,” Bekah said with a hint of a sigh. “But yeah, I re­ally want to hit some­one and make a tackle!”

Re­bekah Car­roll

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