Becca Longo: Kicking Down Gender Barriers one Field Goal at a Time

By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.- “I used to play soccer for a long, long time and I just got tired of it”: On Thursday, Becca Longo, a former soccer player, became the first female to sign a letter of intent to play football at a Division II university or higher.  Clearly, soccer’s loss is football’s gain. This fall, Longo is set to leave her Arizona home in favor of Adams State University’s campus in Colorado. She is its newest Grizzly.  Although she is an Arizona Cardinals fan, Brandon McManus and the Denver Broncos were among the first to welcome her to the football family of the Centennial State:

As she told me, after sending out her highlight reel, the offensive coordinator of Adams State came to her school, met her in-person, and invited her to visit the university on an official visit.  She went and “fell in love with the school…. [She] really felt like everyone was so warm and welcoming and [she] felt like she really belonged.”Becca Longo NCAA football kicker letter of intent

Including among the “really cool” (male) players on the school’s football team. Logistics seem to already have been figured out: Longo has a special arrangement to have a locker room separate from her male teammates.

Longo told me: “It all really started when my brother was 17 and I was 6… I just remember from my childhood always being in the backyard and throwing the football with him”. Their age gap was closed by the game of football.  As it turns out, “[My brother] had a girl on his football team so every time I would go to his football games, I’d see her and I grew up being inspired by her”.

Becca Longo becomes first woman female to sign Division II football ncaa scholarship.
Photo courtesy of Becca Longo

What’s next for the football standout? As a kicker transitions from high school to college, he/she must be cognizant of the fact that the goal posts will narrow.  As a good chess player is, Longo is two-steps ahead of her competition, telling me: “I’ve been training with arena goal posts, which are even narrorower than college [ones].” Having already drilled a 50-yard field goal in practice, she told me that with the arena-width goal posts, she is “really working on … accuracy now.”

Surely her coaches approve of her work ethic.  Longo told me that the head coach “has daughters of his own … one of them plays hockey.  [She’s] super cool.  She wants to play football also! Actually, all the coaches at Adams have a bunch of little girls. It’s really funny because they’re all so involved with the football team.  All the players love them. They’re always at every single game on the sidelines. Super adorable”.

Since signing her letter of intent on Thursday,  Longo has had some… interesting encounters within the walls of her high school.

“The day after [she] signed, a bunch of people at my school” were asking to take photos with her.  Why now?  Her classmates told her: “before you’re famous”.

Being “plastered all over ESPN”, having appearances on Good Morning America and CNN, and having countless articles written about her, with Longo’s newfound celebrity, she has “definitely” encountered Internet trolls. “I’ve had people tell me: ‘don’t look at the comments on this post’ or ‘don’t read these comments'”.  Taking her own advice, she told me: “I don’t.  I pretty much know what they’re saying.  I just use that as motivation”.

Becca Longo becomes first woman female to sign Division II football ncaa scholarship.
Photo courtesy of Becca Longo

When I asked about her signing’s effect on young girls, Longo replied: “I just want [girls] to do what they love, honestly. If they love football, then I want them to go play football. I don’t want them to be influenced by what other people say”.

While Longo pumped the brakes on setting her next goal (I asked her about her NFL aspirations),  (with a laugh) she said: “I just got this goal … I haven’t really made a new [one] yet. So, I don’t know. I guess we’ll have to see in the future”!  Longo plans to major in sports management at Adams State University.

Catch this interview again on my sports talk radio show, 60 Minute Overtime, on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 11am EST. Stream live video at Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan.

 

 

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

  1. Asking questions are really pleasant thing
    if you are not understanding anything fully, but this
    piece of writing provides nice understanding yet.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s