MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Howard High School female student-athlete is getting her helmet and cleats ready for the football season. But Elizabeth Rodenroth is not new to the pig skin.
Growing up, she spent a lot of Saturdays tailgating at University of Georgia games and watching NFL Sunday Night Football. Now, the fans watch her.
Elizabeth says she’s been kicking a soccer ball since early childhood. The Howard High senior scored 82 goals for the school in the last three seasons.
For the second year, Elizabeth is pushing through stereotypes and substituting her shin guards for shoulder pads.
“At first, I was nervous,” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect like if they’d look at me like oh she’s a girl. Don’t say that.”
Coach Paul Carroll says he needed a kicker after his last kicker left. He says boys from the soccer team tried out, but they didn’t make the cut.
“Our basketball coach was actually walking on the track one day. [Elizabeth] was out there working with our ex-kicker, Cody. [Coach] called me then saying coach you got a kicker,” he said.
Elizabeth made the team in May 2018.
“I have a big group of brothers and all the coaches are protective, so it’s like I have a bunch of dads,” Elizabeth said. “It’s one big family.”
Coach Carroll never second guessed himself about adding Elizabeth to his roster.
“Right now our expectations for Elizabeth is to make sure she kicks it through the uprights and she’s done that,” Coach Carroll said.
Elizabeth not only plays football, she plays soccer.
“Monday we have football practice, then I don’t have soccer, but then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday I go to school, I go to football practice then I go to soccer practice and then weight training on top of that,” she said.
She hopes to inspire other girl tailgaters to aim for the Friday night lights.
“You’re going to grow a lot from it and it’s going to be hard and you’re going to be tested in ways you never thought you would be tested,” she said. “But it’s going to make you a better person, a better athlete, and better student.”
Elizabeth says she’s pursuing soccer in college and has a few universities looking at her.