Vanderbilt set to stick with trailblazing female kicker Sarah Fuller

<span>Photograph: AP</span>
Photograph: AP

Sarah Fuller, who became the first woman to play for a Power 5 college football team last weekend, is set to continue her career with Vanderbilt.

The 21-year-old took on kickoff duties for the Commodores last weekend after several members of the team were ruled out due to Covid-19 protocols. On Tuesday, Vanderbilt interim coach Todd Fitch said Fuller has been practicing again this week and will travel to Saturday’s game against one of the biggest teams in college football, Georgia.

“She’ll be with us on the trip to Georgia and we’re going to put the best people out there,” he said. “If she’s our best option we’ll continue with her and we’ll do the best we can for the team.”

When Fuller made her debut for Vanderbilt, she became just the third woman to compete in the FBS, the highest level of college football. The other two athletes to achieve the feat, Katie Hnida of New Mexico and April Goss of Kent State, were also kickers. However, her predecessors played at lower levels within the 130-team FBS, with the Power 5 acknowledged as the elite conferences.

Fuller was named a special teams player of the week for her performance. She did not get the chance to kick a field goal or extra-point, however, as the struggling Commodores were shut out 41-0 by Missouri.

Fuller is attending Vanderbilt on a soccer scholarship, and played in goal as her team won their first SEC title since 1994. During her soccer career, she has become known for her long goal-kicks and could already kick the ball 60-yards in high school. She is in her final year at Vanderbilt and will study for a masters degree in hospital administration at North Texas next year, where she will also play for the soccer team.

Athletes such as World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe, NBA superstar LeBron James and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson were among those to congratulate Fuller on her debut.