ALA fields its first female football player
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!”