FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WDVM) – In the 2021-2022 academic year, Haley Van Voorhis will suit up for the Shenandoah Hornets, as part of the football team. She will be the first woman in college football to play in a regular position, as a wide receiver & defensive back.
Prior to training camp with the Hornets, Haley has been seeing time on the gridiron, thanks to the D.C. Divas.
“I knew I could get better, and this has helped me get ready for college.” said Haley, in an interview after the Divas final game.
The Divas lost in the playoffs to the Tampa Bay Inferno, losing 35-6 to close their season. Despite the loss in a shortened season, Haley was able to make her mark as one of the youngest players on the field.
“She really was a terrific Diva, a terrific teammate, and a terrific football player.” said Owner Rich Daniel, “And at the age of eighteen, that is quite a statement to make about anybody. Whether it be a boy or a young lady.”
“Literally all Haley wants to do is play football.” said Head Coach Allysea Marfull, “She gets on the field, she has a great attitude, she lives, breathes football.”
Even with a shortened season with the Divas, Haley was able to fine-tune her skillset as well; sharpening her knowledge behind the defensive-back spot.
“I never got much DB, I guess IQ; I got to be physically playing it a lot more than I had before, so I was able to pick up new things, and keep myself playing football, so I’m ready.”
Ready for a challenge people who have been around her know, she is more than prepared for.
“It’s a big mark for women, and ideally that’s what we’re all doing out here. We’re just trying to advance the sport for women, so I’m so glad she could be out there.”, said Allysea.
“She’s going to earn that respect from them, whether they have it to begin with or not, she’ll find a way.”, said Rich.
And despite all the high expectations being placed on her, and the unwanted criticism that comes with women in sports; the pressure doesn’t bother her at all.
“No, absolutely not. It’s like – I’m out here playing football, having fun, that’s the last thing I am worried about.” said Haley, “I mean, I do keep in my mind I’m the first but I gotta put a little extra, 110% to prove to myself that women can do anything, that maybe they’re not supposed to do. So, playing football is just a dream of mine, and now I’m able to do it.”