Claire Gaston didn’t set out to become a role model when she buckled up her chin strap to play football, but she became one to many young girls after drilling her first field goal for Mater Dei High School in Middletown, New Jersey.
“If you want to play with the guys, you should play with the guys. My whole message here is that if you can believe it, you can break down those barriers and achieve it if you really set your mind to it.”
Gaston has played soccer her entire life, but when she found out the football team needed a kicker, she went all in, even if it meant getting blocked by players who are a lot bigger than she is.
“I was a little nervous at first but once I got hit, it was OK and I knew that my teammates had my back.”
Kicking is all about repetition and Gaston knows that seeing a girl on a football field playing with the boys will take some getting used to for most of society. She admits there is not only the pressure of being that one girl on the field, but knowing that many people are watching her every kick.
“It’s a newfound pressure knowing that little girls look up to me. I want people to say I was an inspiration to their kid. Being that role model to little girls is my hope at the end of this.”
But it’s not the only hope that Gaston has. She dreams about playing on the biggest stage and has been inspired by another soccer player. This one is quite famous in fact.
“If the NFL came calling, I definitely would give it a shot. I’m a big fan of Carli Lloyd. I saw her kick a 55-yard field goal in a practice with the Philadelphia Eagles, so I know that anything is possible.”
Even role models have role models. More and more girls are playing sports that are traditionally male-dominated but it will only take one to make a huge difference forever.
Photo Credits: Instagram