Adams State female football kicker wanting to make her mark

DENVER AP — The box intention kicker from Adams State concept about her latitude for a moment.

On the container, it’s as a minimum 54 yards, which is how some distance she related on one throughout apply. in the arena of opening doors for other feminine soccer players, she hopes it’s countless.

Rebecca “Becca” Longo grew to become one of the first ladies to acquire a partial soccer scholarship a season ago. Given all the media attention surrounding her, the crew elected to redshirt her.

This season, the 19-year-old continues to be in the working to be the beginning kicker for the Division II Grizzlies, who open the season this weekend at Colorado college of Mines.

Longo’s already heard from former ColoradoNew Mexico kicker Katie Hnida in addition to Jennifer Welter, who served as an intern assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals.

Like them, she wants to damage in the course of the gridiron glass ceiling. Like them, she desires to be a trendsetter.

“I get lots of messages inquiring for counsel and that i say the same aspect: ‘Don’t cease, as a result of someone tells you you’re now not qualified otherwise you can’t do some thing,” Longo spoke of in a cellphone interview from Alamosa, which is about 235 miles southwest of Denver. “I don’t comprehend how many individuals advised me I couldn’t play football and i should still cease and quit. I examine where they’re at now and where I’m at. I suggest, had I listened to them, I wouldn’t be where i am today.”

She’s a multi-game athlete at Adams State, joining the basketball crew ultimate season and planning to provide lacrosse a are trying this season.

Of route, football is her leading priority. As a redshirt ultimate season, she spent the time honing her skills. And while she connected on a fifty four-yarder in apply, she’s popular for her accuracy — nailing forty-to-forty five-yarders again and again again.

since Day 1, she’s felt approved by means of her teammates, calling them a “huge household .”

around campus, she feels nothing however guide.

“final year, everyone changed into definitely tremendous excited to see me kick,” pointed out Longo, whose dorm room is decorated with sea shells and seashore-themed art work she painted. “I’m hoping that’s the identical energy this year.”

Her acceptance? It’s no surprise to Welter, who runs a gridiron girls camp that’s been carried out in 15 cities over the closing 11 months.

“online game acknowledges game. She acquired there because she will be able to kick,” Welter talked about. “That’s the fantastic thing about football. It’s the greatest meritocracy — if you can play, we desire you.”

Longo already has a plan in location for when she makes her first kick: sprint after the ball, tuck it beneath her jersey and hand it to a friend on the sideline, who will run it to the team bus.

it will ought to wait per week with social kicker Erick Ruiz getting the launch at Mines. The job, though, is based on every week-to-week competition and field to change.

She’s tight with Ruiz and punter John Bowers. The three amigos make dinner and have film evening all the time. The different day, the menu turned into chicken parmesan with a horror movie. It’s constantly a horror film.

“They’ve authorized me for me,” pointed out Longo, who moved from Riverside, California, to Arizona when she turned into round 9. “We’re all truly shut. once you step off the container, all and sundry is a ally.”

Longo ventured into soccer as a sophomore in excessive school. A soccer participant, she became attempting to find a different challenge. Her first kick in a junior varsity online game become respectable, in spite of the fact that she can’t remember it.

“Blacked out,” she noted of her excitement . “however there’s video of it.”

On video game days, she proudly wore her soccer jersey across the halls of school.

The teasing began.

“They’d submit photos on the information superhighway and say, ‘Is that her jersey or her boyfriend’s?’” she recounted. “I acquired laughed at the total year. They were cool and i wasn’t.”

Longo ended up transferring to Basha excessive school in Chandler, Arizona, and sat out her junior yr. As a senior, she made 35-of-38 added points and her most effective box-goal effort — a 30-yarder.

She reached out to Adams State and turned into finally provided a partial scholarship. She permitted.

Then, the media frenzy began, which protected an look on “first rate Morning america.” She’s been heralded as a pioneer and a role mannequin.

“It’s always flattering to have americans search for to you,” she referred to. “but it’s also scary, as a result of what in case you mess up?”

She’s had lots of former female gamers attain out. Like Hnida, who attended Colorado earlier than transferring to New Mexico. On Aug. 30, 2003, Hnida kicked two additional features for the Lobos in opposition t Texas State. Her shoes and uniform are within the college football hall of repute.

Welter chatted along with her as neatly. Welter turned into a operating again for the Texas Revolution — an expert indoor football crew — and later served as the team’s linebackersparticular teams instruct. In 2015, she made heritage by way of fitting an assistant coaching intern for the Cardinals for working towards camp and into the preseason.

“It’s unbelievable to see Becca kicking down doors and for everyone who have been in the game. We walk a bit taller, we really clap a great deal louder, scream a whole lot louder, shining that she has this world and so does each different girl coming after her,” Welter stated. “each considered one of us is pulling for her day-after-day.”

When Longo steps between the strains, she’s no longer Longo the female football player. She’s comfortably Longo the kicker.

“I’ve done this for therefore long, so once I’m on the field, i’m one of the crucial guys, because that’s how they deal with me,” Longo noted. “however on occasion, I’ll stroll on the box by myself and feel, ‘I’m enjoying faculty soccer. How crazy is that.’”

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