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By Brian Kipley
At Aurora University, the concept of “an inclusive community” applies not only to academics but also to the football team. This year’s Spartans squad includes the first female participant in the team’s history.
Samantha Angell came to Aurora to play softball, but she also wanted to get involved with the football team shortly before the preseason began.
“I came here because I thought it was a great opportunity,” Angell said. “I didn’t want to look back and think, ‘What if I wouldn’t have played?’ I’m really glad I decided to play.”
Spartans coach Rich Duncan was happy to give a female student-athlete an opportunity to play football in college. While it’s not uncommon to see a female kicker in high school, it’s rare at the college level.
Angell was previously a kicker for Bloom Township High School in Illinois before she decided to play at Aurora. Although this isn’t her first experience playing football, being surrounded by such a large group of players in practice was a different experience.
“It may not seem like a big difference between high school and college, but it’s harder here. The guys are bigger and blocks can be used during a kick,” Angell said. “I’ve got to impress more here in college. I’m trying to not just be the girl who’s the kicker; I’m a football player like the rest of them.”
Angell appears up to the challenge. She drilled a 46-yarder in practice, though she’s behind senior starting kicker Ryan Subick and back-up Fernando Albarran on the roster.
“She’s here because she is a good football player and athlete; she had to prove herself like everyone else,” Duncan said. “Sam’s a football player. She just happens to be a girl.”
Brian Kipley is the sports information director at Aurora University.