Woman soccer player will dress, poised to play for Vandy

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FILE – In this Oct. 31, 2020, file photo, Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason looks on from the sideline during an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Nashville, Tenn. Vanderbilt women’s soccer goalkeeper Sarah Fuller has practiced with the football team, and coach Derek Mason says she’s an option at kicker Saturday against Missouri. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Women’s soccer player Sarah Fuller will don a football uniform Saturday for Vanderbilt and is poised to become the first woman to play in a Power 5 game when the Commodores visit Missouri.

“Let’s make history,” senior Sarah Fuller wrote Friday on Twitter with a photo of herself wearing a football jersey with a soccer ball between her feet while holding a football in her hands.

No woman has appeared in an Southeastern Conference football game or for any Power 5 gridiron team. Liz Heaston became the first woman to score with two extra points for Willamette in NAIA on Oct. 18, 1997.

Katie Hnida was the first woman to score at the Football Bowl Subdivision level with two extra points for New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003. April Goss was the second with an extra point for Kent State in 2015. Tonya Butler was the first woman to kick a field goal in an NCAA game for Division II West Alabama on Sept. 13, 2003.

A senior from Wylie, Texas, Fuller made three saves last weekend as Vanderbilt upset top-seeded Arkansas 3-1 in women’s soccer to capture the program’s first Southeastern Conference Tournament title since 1994. Fuller played every minute of the tournament and said it’s an honor Vanderbilt called on her to help out.

She’ll be wearing “Play Like A Girl” on the back of her helmet.

“I think it’s amazing and incredible. But I’m also trying to separate that because I know this is a job I need to do and I want to help the team out and I want to do the best that I can,” Fuller said. “Placing that historical aspect aside just helps me focus in on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in anyway.

COVID-19 protocols and restrictions have left coach Derek Mason with a limited number of specialists available against Missouri. That’s why he reached out to soccer coach Darren Ambrose for some help.

And if she is called upon to assist, Fuller will make history.

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