Kicking off a new year

Senior Athena Angel '20 kicks down social standards

Kicking+off+a+new+year

Evie Cuffaro, Madison Sain, and Maria Ruscitto

Monarch High School has never had a female football player. This year, that changed. 

Athena Angel ‘20 became a kicker for the team.

“I play soccer, and I wanted to try something new. Being a kicker for the football team has always been in the back of my mind,” she said. “I talked to Coach Bravo, and he was really open to it, so I just joined.”

Angel started going to summer practices and building her skills. 

“Initially, it was a little awkward. It was a new situation that none of us has ever dealt with before,” she said.

Blending in with the team took some time, but the whole team was accepting for her joining, and excited for a new player. Now, she fits right in, she feels like herself without feeling different from everyone else. 

“She just integrated well into the team and just plays along, and it goes really well… She’s just a really fun person,” football team member Gage Majure ‘21 said. 

Angel believes in feminism and that everyone should be able to do what they want, regardless of their gender. 

“I’m one of the teammates, which is exactly what I wanted,” Angel said. “The last thing I would want is to be treated differently than all of them. I want to be held to the same standards.”

While often overlooked, being a kicker for a football team is an important job. They score extra points by kicking field goals after a touchdown. This means her role on the team can put pressure on her. 

For Angel, there’s additional pressure on her, just for being a girl on a predominantly male team. She always wants to be treated equally, and doesn’t want her expectations to be different from the other players.

“There’s a lot of expectations building up to see me kick,” she said. “I don’t want to miss and then have everyone think I’m only on the team because I’m a girl. I always want to show that I can play and contend with the others.”

Even with that, she still loves what she does. 

“When I’m done kicking, I feel more relieved than anything. Right before I kick the football, it’s very intense. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” she said.

She enjoys being on the team and playing football. Much of her high school experience has been dedicated to sports, and now she is the first female football player. 

“I think you should be able to do anything, regardless of your gender… If you can do it, you should do it,” Angel said.