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Play like a girl takes on a new meaning 

TUES.| 11-15-22 | SPORTS

     Sophomore defensive end, Ashunti Cooper, made history as the first girl to play for the Rose JV football team. Moving from Florida where her cousins play college football, Cooper grew up with a passion for the sport. 

     “I've played since I was young and my cousins both play college football,” Cooper said. “They always let me play with them growing up so I've gotten used to the sport and I love it so much.” 

     Being the only girl to try out for football was nerve-wracking for Cooper but with the right mindset she knew that she could do it. 

     “[The tryout process was] very hard, because I had to work twice as hard and the focus and mentality that keeps me going is that I have been wanting this for a while and I was going to keep striving for it,” Cooper said. 

     Along with jitters before trying out, Cooper had to face the reality that it is unusual and rare for a girl to play the sport of football. She didn't let the judgment get to her because she knew what she wanted, and that was to be a part of the team. 

     “Some people will judge you but it's alright because you have to stick to what's in your heart, and keep focus on what you want to do,” Cooper said. 


Contributed photo 

     After making the team, Cooper instantly started to make connections with the players and coaches and started to see lots of progress in her game throughout the season. 

     “I have gotten a lot better, [through playing for Rose] my speed, my agility, my strength, my conditioning and just my game as a whole has improved,” Cooper said. 

     Every athlete experiences very big ups and even bigger downs throughout a season. Cooper, with the help of her teammates and coaches, was able to get through her low points this year. 

     [The hardest part about playing for Rose was] the mentality aspect because there have been moments where I have wanted to quit but my teammates and coaches encouraged me to keep going, so I did. 

     As the season went on, Cooper continued to strengthen her relationships with the team as well as her game and had a great first season and plans to be back to tryout again next year. 

     [The best part about playing football for Rose is] my teammates, they are all awesome and they lift me up, even when I'm down,” Cooper said. 

     Cooper is an inspiration to all girls and will continue to fight for her dream and let nothing stand in her way. 

     [If there was a girl in my same position I would tell her to] do what you want to do, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, just follow your heart and what you believe in,” Cooper said. 

     Cooper lives by these three things, do more, experience more, and always follow your heart. They have gotten her to where she is today and she will continue to push further day by day.

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