Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller Makes College Football History


The collegiate soccer player and 2020 SEC champion is the first woman to play in a Power Five football game

On Nov 28, senior Sarah Fuller made history as the first female to play in an Southeastern Conference (SEC) football game, however this isn’t the first time the 21 year old has made history. Earlier this year, the starting goalkeeper for the women’s soccer squad at Vanderbilt University led the Commodores to their first SEC women’s soccer tournament title since 1994. With many of the Vanderbilt football players quarantined due to COVID-19 protocols, football coach Derek Mason recruited Fuller to try out for the team.

“She’s got a strong leg. We’ll see what that yields,” Coach Mason told reporters. “We’ll figure out what that looks like on Saturday.”

According to ESPN, Fuller is the third female to participate in a Football Bowl Subdivision game. In 2003, Katie Hnida of New Mexico kicked two extra points against Texas State. April Goss was a placekicker for the Kent State Golden Flashes football team in 2015. Fuller wore a special decal on the back of her helmet which read, “Play Like a Girl.” 

“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,” said Fuller in a response to the news of her playing in Saturday’s game. 

Fuller took the opening kickoff in the third quarter. The low kick sailed roughly 30 yards before Missouri’s Mason Pack retrieved and downed it at his team’s 35-yard line. Vanderbilt was shut out in Saturday’s loss to Missouri with a final score of 41-0.

“Honestly, I was just really calm,” Fuller told reporters after the game. “The SEC [soccer] championship was more stressful if I’m being honest,” adding, “I just want to tell all the girls out there that you can do anything you set your mind to.”