When high school student Becca Longo made history as the first woman to receive an athletic scholarship to play college football as a kicker at the Division II level (or higher), she didn’t even realize it.

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Longo only came to the realization during a signing ceremony at her Arizona high school, when her football coach—Gerald Todd—made the announcement to the crowd. While there have been more than 10 women who have played football at the collegiate level, not a single one of them were a part of an NCAA-affiliated program or on scholarship. 

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“I didn’t know that until today,” Longo said after the ceremony. “I’m still in shock from it. I’m just amazed.”

Longo’s story is especially inspiring considering her years-long journey to get to this point. Not only was she forced to sit out her junior year season after transferring to a new high school, she also suffered a back injury that same year which threatened to take her out of the game forever. Despite the devastating injury, Longo was able to make it onto the field for spring football in 2016, where she earned the starting job on field goals and extra points.  

Still, it was only after reaching out to Adams State that she received an official visit and an eventual offer to play not just football, but basketball, as well. Longo knows that there will be plenty of competition when she reaches the collegiate level, but she’s more than ready for it. “I’m ready to compete,” she said. “I don’t really have any expectations beyond that.”