She’s the man: the only female on the football team


Gauri Kaushik

The uncomfortable warmth of room A112 is sliced by a soaring football as the boys yell at each other from across the room. The classroom seems crowded and noisy, but she simply laughs and stands confidently in their midst. When someone unfamiliar walks in, breaking the comfort of familiar voices, sophomore Kaitlyn Zou starts to pick at the sleeves of her grey MVHS Athletics sweatshirt. The MVHS football team is where she’s most comfortable.  

Zou is the only girl on the JV football team at MVHS, but she’s treated no differently than her fellow teammates.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Zou works out in the weight room after school. Zou is the only girl on the MV Junior Varsity football team.

“Honestly, the only difference is the locker rooms,” Zou said.

She can’t help but laugh as she talks about the locker rooms.

Zou became interested in football when she began to watch NFL and school games and her interest only grew from there. She had been weightlifting at the time and thought about joining the football team.

When she showed up at spring training, and later during the summer, some of the other players were surprised, but the team and the coaches were very open. They didn’t care that she was a girl, and they treated her the same as any other player. According to assistant coach Cody Owens, Zou had no different expectations because of her gender.

“I hope they don’t go easy on me,” Zou said. “I don’t wanted to be treated differently.”

As for the teams she faced during the season, Zou said that most of them don’t even realize she’s a girl, but Owens said that they always notice.

“Behind the helmet, everyone just looks the same, and I don’t play any different,” Zou said.

“Behind the helmet, everyone just looks the same, and I don’t play any different.” – Sophomore Kaitlyn Zou ”

An article from BBC News found that football had the highest difference among the number of male and female players out of any sport, because football is commonly thought of as a traditionally male sport due to its aggressive nature. There are no professional female football leagues, and college and professional teams don’t recruit female players. But according to an article published in Business Insider, the number of high school girls playing football in 2016 was the highest in 15 years.

Zou doesn’t think any sport should be primarily for one gender, as long as the player has the talent or hard work to play it well.
“How dedicated you are and how much you love the sport matter more than your gender, and it shows on the field,” Zou said.