Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power 5 soccer game on Saturday when she kicked off the second half for Vanderbilt against Missouri.
Fuller, a senior goaltender on the Vanderbilt SEC Championship football team, sent the low kick to the 35-yard line where he was downed by Missouri.
A week ago, Fuller wasn’t even on Vanderbilt’s football team. She and members of the soccer team watched on TV as the Commodores lost to Florida’s No.6.
Then a few days later, a member of coach Derek Mason’s staff called to see if she was interested in trying. Vanderbilt had lost a number of specialists to COVID-19 testing and needed a kicker. Fuller went to practice and did well enough to make the team the only kicker on the travel list.
Fuller took the field against Missouri with a special sticker on the back of his helmet that read, “Play like a girl.”
– Vanderbilt Football (@VandyFootball) November 28, 2020
In doing so, Fuller became only the third woman to participate in an FBS football game, following in the footsteps of Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State.
“I think it’s amazing and amazing,” Fuller told the Vanderbilt team website earlier in the week. “But I also try to separate that because I know this is a job I have to do and I want to help the team and I want to do my best. Putting that historical aspect aside just helps me focus. on what to do, I don’t want to let them down in any way.
“It’s an honor that they asked me to be able to do this and help them.”
In 2001, Ashley Martin became the first female to score at the Division I level when she scored three more points for FCS Jacksonville State against Cumberland on August 30, 2001.
Two years later, Hnida was the first woman to score at the FBS level with two more points from Texas State.
Fuller, who attended high school in Wylie, Texas, started playing football at age 5. She was a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll at Vanderbilt. Earlier this month, it was announced that she would be attending North Texas as a graduate transfer for next season while playing football for the Mean Green.
She appeared in nine games during her senior season, making 28 saves and posting a 7-2 record.