Sarah Fuller is ready to make history on Saturday. Vanderbilt University announced on Friday that the women's soccer player dress and travel with the football team for its game against Missouri. She will be available as a kicker and set to become the first female to play in a Power 5 football game.
"I think it’s amazing and incredible, Fuller said on Vanderbilt's official website. "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. Placing that historical aspect aside just helps me focus on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in any way."
The school's newspaper, the Vanderbilt Hustler, first reported that Fuller practiced with the football team as a kicker on Nov. 24. Head coach Derek Mason confirmed the news when he appeared on ESPN 102.5 The Game in Nashville. "Right now, we’re just looking at all options,” Mason said. "For us, talking to Sarah, she’s a champ, and no pun intended. Just coming off an SEC Championship in soccer… She’s a complete competitor. She’s an option for us. Right now, that’s where we sit."
Fuller is looking to be the first female to play in a Power 5 game but won't be the first to play in an FBS contest. Katie Hnida became the first woman to score at the FBS level, kicking two extra points for New Mexico against Texas State in 2003. April Goss became the second woman to score in an FBS game with an extra point for Kent State against Delaware State in 2015.
Fuller is the goalkeeper on the women's soccer team. The squad beat Mississippi State 4-0 to win the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama on Nov. 15. Once the season came to an end, Fuller's coach, Ken Masuhr called her and asked if she wanted to be a kicker on the football team. The Commodores are dealing with many specialists begging quarantined due to COVID-19 concerns. They are currently 0-7 on the year, and Fuller could be the boost they need to get their first win of the year.