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Kathy Ireland was among the Hollywood stars and professional athletes thrilled for Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller, who made history on Saturday when she became the first woman to play in a Power Five game.
The actress, model and super-mogul (who is also on the board of directors of National Football League Players Incorporated) played a college football kicker in the 1991 sports classic Necessary Roughness. Her character, Lucy Draper, was a star on the college’s soccer team before being recruited to play football thereby helping the team turn around its losing season. The 21-year-old Fuller is a senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt’s SEC championship soccer team. Her opportunity with the football team came because Vanderbilt’s kickers are in quarantine due to COVID-19.
“Congratulations to Sarah Fuller and the Vanderbilt Commodores,” Ireland said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “So powerful to see something that happened on film in Necessary Roughness, many, many years ago become a reality for this brilliant, superb athlete.”
Although Fuller made national headlines with her history-making day, her team was shutout 41-0 by the Missouri Tigers. Nonetheless, Fuller called the experience “so exciting” after the game.
“The fact that I can represent all the girls out there that have wanted to do this or thought about playing football or any sport really, and it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this, it’s awesome,” she said.
Vanderbilt is among the teams in the SCE east within the Power Five conferences of NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate football.
“All I want to do is be a good influence to the young girls out there because there were times I struggled in sports,” Fuller said, “but I’m so thankful that I stuck with it and it’s given me so many opportunities and I’ve met so many amazing people through sports, and I just want to say that literally you can do anything you set your mind to.”
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