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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

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Ball makes history joining football team

Bren Belmonte

By Violet Wang | Staff Writer

   For the past 18 years, the Gabrielino football team’s roster has consisted completely and utterly of boys, boys, and more boys, despite the lack of a girls football team at GHS. That finally changed this fall when the varsity football team welcomed their first ever female football player, senior Valeria Ball.

   Ball’s athletic legacy began when she was a child not with football, but with soccer. She first gained interest in the game when she was six and has become an avid player since then, joining the girls soccer team her freshman year. Her introduction to football came young as well, when she would play casual football in the park with her older cousins.

   Ball considered joining the football team in her sophomore year upon encouragement from her boyfriend, junior Peyton Robertson, a fellow football player. This year, with an opening in her schedule, she decided to join the team, trying out for the role of kicker due to her skill in soccer.

   Ball loves the football team, embracing the innate sense of camaraderie and togetherness that comes with a team sport. She notes that her teammates treat her the same as any other player in practically every way, and she’s glad that they do.

   “The team is like a family, they’re a bunch of brothers and I’m the older sister!”, Ball grinned.

   Ball also adores the coaches, noting their genuine care for each and every member and how Assistant Coach Elijah Peters treats her equally.

   Ball does mention that she isn’t always treated exactly the same though.   Some of those contrasts she accepts with no offense.

   “Obviously, there are some differences. The boys are weird,” Ball laughed, “They slap each other’s butts!”

   Others, however, Ball has more mixed feelings about. She notes that, during practice, she is sometimes treated with more leniency than the other players, such as being scolded less harshly and less often. Although she is occasionally thankful for this, overall she prefers that she be treated the same as anyone else.

   Another difference is that Ball is unable to listen to the halftime talks held each game as they take place in the boys locker room. Instead, she must wait outside for the talk to finish- an awkward experience. She wishes that she could listen to the talks as well, not just because it can be an important pep talk and planning discussion, but because it is a part of being in the team.

   Regardless, Ball remains upbeat and optimistic, and her main goal is to play in games and have fun. She hopes that her presence on the team can encourage other girls to join as well, aware of at least one other girl interested in the sport.

   “We need more girls on the team!” Ball exclaimed. “If you don’t try, you don’t succeed!”

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About the Contributor
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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