CEDARVILLE (KFSM) — More and more girls are playing high school football.
Sporting a homecoming crown and football cleats, Mikayla Oden said she still feels like there are barriers and stereotypes to break.
“Just because the stereotype is that we’re weaker doesn’t mean we can’t keep up with the men,” Oden said.
Oden takes honors classes. She’s been on the homecoming court three times and loves football. You won’t find her with pom poms on the sidelines or sitting in the bleachers. Oden is the starting wide receiver for the Cedarville Pirates.
“I’ve always loved the sport and ever since I’ve been playing it, I’ve always pursued the sport,” she said.
She started playing in third grade and hasn’t put the football down since. She said her father, a former semi-pro player is her inspiration.
“I’ve always called her my first-born son,” Brannon Oden said.
He said he is proud of her too.
“Every game I’m like ‘that’s my daughter,’” he said.
And her coach doesn’t treat her any differently because she’s a girl.
“She’s just another player,” head coach Max Washausen said. “That’s the way I think of it, and we try to make her better everyday just like every other kid on the team.”
Oden’s close with her teammates and said they’ve always had her back, but she has had to prove herself to other coaches and contenders.
“I’ve had to show them I can do this,” she said. “I can be like one of the boys. I can tough it out.”
She wants to inspire other girls interested in football to pursue their dreams too and to never give up.
“I’ve seen more and more girls play football since I’ve started, and it’s actually making me proud of how far we’ve come,” Oden said.
Mikayla plans to go to veterinarian school once she graduates, but says she will always have a love for the game.