Many people think that football is a just boy sport, but eighth grader Danielle Moore decided to challenge that stereotype and tryout.
Some of the players didn’t think she was serious, but after she made the traveling team, they realized the value she had for the squad. Moore said trying out was not easy, and neither are the practices, but the daily workouts are making her a stronger person.
“I’m getting a lot faster at running and a lot stronger,” said Moore. “But besides the normal, I’m not procrastinating as much on my school work.”
Moore said didn’t try out for the team as a seventh grader because she wasn’t sure she was going to make it and she was worried that she wouldn’t be welcomed by the older players.
“I decided to play football this year because now I’m an eighth grader,” said Moore. “And I don’t have to deal with older students, such as eighth graders last year when I was in seventh grade.”
Offensive and defensive coach, Rich Milligan, has seen girl football players before, so he tried not to act too shocked about seeing Moore try out and make the team.
“It’s not the first time I have seen a girl play football so it wasn’t a big deal,” said Milligan. “But now, she’s just ‘one of the guys.’”
On the field, Moore is just as valuable as any of the guys. She shows no fear, makes no excuses, and that makes her a better player, athlete, and person.
“A team is a collection of individuals who choose to work together toward a common goal,” said Milligan. “And she most certainly does that.”
Since Moore is the only girl, she changes by herself. She is not allowed into the boys locker room, so she changes in the 700 building on her way back from her last class of the day the Apache Junction High School. But she is not separated from the boys in any other way, which is just fine with Moore.
“We have players out at practice, not boys or girls, or fast people or slow or short or tall – we have players,” said Coach Milligan. “They all get coached with the intent of improving in the areas of their greatest needs, individually, and collectively.”
“I love playing football, but I always have to push myself so that no one can say I didn’t try my hardest or that girls can’t play football,” said Moore.