Vanderbilt University’s Sarah Fuller made football history Saturday, becoming the first woman to play in a Power Five game. She used her moment — which saw her trending on Twitter — to share a message with girls to “do big things.”
“I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to; you really can. And if you have that mentality all the way through, you can do big things,” the student-athlete said in an interview with ESPN’s SEC Network.
“Honestly, it’s just so exciting,” the kicker said. “And the fact that I can represent the little girls out there who 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.”
Fuller, who is a senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt’s SEC championship soccer team, joined the Commodores’ game against the University of Missouri Tigers by delivering the opening kickoff of the second half. Though the Commodores lost the game 41-0, Fuller recently helped lead their women’s soccer team to its first SEC title since 1994.
She was cheered on social media by athletes and viewers on Saturday for the milestone. Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee hailed her for not going out of bounds, giving up a touchdown or offering a chance for return. College football commentator Alex Kirschner praised her, writing alongside a highlight clip, “Sarah Fuller squibbed it exactly where she was supposed to (watch Vanderbilt’s coverage guys all funneling short right) and left it un-returnable for Mizzou. Probably one of Vandy’s best-executed plays of the day in all honestly.” Sports journalist Holly Rowe declared she was “all choked up.”