Vanderbilt soccer player Sarah Fuller is making huge strides in the sports world


The first female to play for a Power 5 football team—that is a big deal. No one in history has done that, and Sarah Fuller became the first as she debuted for Vanderbilt.

Growing up as a female athlete, I have always been exposed to the comments that come when playing sports. I remember several times throughout my life I was told that “you’re a girl, you can’t play with us,” or “girls will go first, then boys will go after,” when all I wanted to do was compete. That’s all I ever wanted to do: compete. Because I knew that even if I didn’t get first, there was no reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to compete with the boys. 

This is installed into many girls’ brains growing up, so when the news spread that Vanderbilt would be having the first female player in Power 5 history, it just made me smile. I understand that to some people, it might not be that big of a deal, and to some, it was even a joke, but seeing someone in the realm of sports make a name for themselves by going against all odds—I don’t know, it was just really cool to see; especially given that I am a soccer player, and so was she. It gives that extra little boost of confidence so little girls (and athletes in general) everywhere can see that anything is possible. 

Here is the thing though; I thought it was so cool that she had the chance to do this, but still, people found ways to bring her down. Be proud that someone is setting a great example for girls around the world. Be proud that someone was able to beat the odds. But don’t be the one to knock her down. 

In the past few days, the number of negative comments that have seemed to come her way is astounding. Honestly, it is kind of sick to read what people are saying about her and her performance. Yes, we get it, she kicked one kick. Was it the most amazing kick in the world? No, but the whole point wasn’t about that. It was about making history and doing it in a positive way. If you were to go and read some of these comments she was getting, you would feel bad for her too. People had such high expectations for her that when it didn’t go as they had planned, they turned to hate comments. Calm down and let the girl have her moment. Let female athletes everywhere have their moment because what she did is incredible. 

Truthfully, at the end of the day, we all know that her kick wasn’t the best-executed kick we’ve ever seen, but keep in mind last week was her first week of practicing football in her life. The people getting so upset over the fact that this moment was so hyped up and that she earned SEC player of the week honors need to look at the real reasons why this was such a big deal. Everyone has at least one woman in their life: a mom, sister, friend, or whomever it may be. Just think of how they feel watching someone go against the stereotypes. It is just really cool to see someone achieve something that will affect so many people, and Sarah Fuller did just that as she inspires a generation.