Female football player
Photo from Shenandoah athletics.

Female College Football Player Makes History as First Ever Non-Kicker

Shenandoah University safety Haley Van Voorhis made college football history after registering a QB hurry in her first ever snap.

Shenandoah University safety Haley Van Voorhis made NCAA football history as she became the first ever female non-kicker to play in a college football game.

On Saturday, Voorhis took the field in the third quarter playing safety for Shenandoah, a Division III school, against Juniata College.

The play came with less than a minute to go on a third and long play where for registered a quarterback hurry.

"It's an amazing thing — I just wanted to get out and do my thing," Van Voorhis said after the game. "I want to show other people this is what women can do, to show what I can do. It's a big moment. I made the impossible possible, and I'm excited about that."

Voorhis, a five-foot-six junior and 145 pounds, played on the junior varsity team the past two seasons and competed as a track team sprinter.

The Virginia native missed her senior season of football in high school due to COVID-19. Playing for Christchurch, she was a 2019 all-state honorable mention.

Before Voorhis, Shelby Osborne played as a defensive back for Campbellsville University in 2014 and 2018, but Campbellsville is an NAIA program.

Of course, the caveat of "non-kicker" exists because there have been several female kickers throughout the years, including Kate Hnida, who was the first woman to score a point in an NCAA Division I-A game for New Mexico. Another was Sarah Fuller, who played for Vanderbilt.

For Voorhis, the attention she attracts is something she's used to and expects.

"There's definitely people out there who see the story and think, 'This girl's going to get hurt,'" she told ESPN. "I hear that a lot. Or, 'She's too small, doesn't weigh enough, not tall enough.' But I'm not the shortest on my team, and I'm not the lightest."

Scott Yoder, her coach, says she is "very determined" and added, "when you peel everything back, it's about a young person who wants an opportunity, who works for it and has earned an opportunity."

"For 21 years, I've been fortunate to be on the coaching side of that. And at the core of this, it's no different," Yoder said.

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