First Female Non-Kicker Makes History by Playing in College Football Game

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On Saturday, Haley Van Voorhis of Division III Shenandoah University became the first female who wasn’t a kicker to play in an NCAA football game.

The historic moment came in the first quarter of Shenandoah’s game against Juniata, as Van Voorhis took the field and registered a quarterback hurry on a third down play.

The 5’6, 145-pound safety has spent the last two seasons on the JV team at Shenandoah. In 2021, Van Voorhis spoke to ESPN about the challenges she faces as a female trying to play football.

“There’s definitely people out there who see the story and think, ‘This girl’s going to get hurt,'” she said. “I hear that a lot. Or, ‘She’s too small, doesn’t weigh enough, not tall enough.’ But I’m not the shortest on my team, and I’m not the lightest.”

Van Voorhis also drew praise from her head coach.

“What has really helped me has been when you peel everything back, it’s about a young person who wants an opportunity, who works for it and has earned an opportunity,” said Shenandoah head coach Scott Yoder. “For 21 years, I’ve been fortunate to be on the coaching side of that. And at the core of this, it’s no different.”

Van Voorhis is the eighth female to take the field in an NCAA game. She also competes as a sprinter on Shenandoah’s track and field team.

Shenandoah beat Juniata 48-7.


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