Football became much more interesting at Diamond Bar High School this fall with wide receiver Sophia Wang on the freshman team. Wang, the only girl on the team, joined after deciding that playing a sport was better than taking Physical Education.
“It was a big choice for me at the time, and I put a lot of thought into it,” Wang said. “If I could [go back] that moment I would still have chosen football since it’s been a lot of fun so far.”
The freshman football team at DBHS does not require tryouts so Wang could join without the fear of being rejected.
Many find it an unusual choice that Wang plays a sport consisting of all guys. Football is a very physical sport, and many students wonder if Wang can take the hit. A lot of freshmen doubted her ability to keep up physically with everyone else.
“We don’t really make exceptions for her, and she does everything that we have to do. When she puts on the uniform, she’s one of us,” said Justin Jeong, a teammate on the team.
Practicing four days a week, Wang considers football “challenging but fun” and plans to continue the sport throughout her high school years.
“What makes Sophia stand out is her intestinal fortitude. She not only endures the physical demands of practices, but also shows courage for her participation during drills and for being one of the first ones to always volunteer to play our opposition on defense and offense,” said Albert Lim, the freshmen coach.
With an average commitment of eight hours each week, not everyone is happy with Wang’s choice of playing football.
“My mom thinks I spend way too much time on football but not enough time on academics. She’s always like ‘Sophia you gotta do your homework and spend less time playing football!’ but like right now, she’s putting up with it,” Wang said.
Wang plays wide receiver and participated in the DBHS game against the Rowland Heights Raiders. She said that she was very excited when the coach finally put her in.
“I don’t know why the coach doesn’t just start her out, she’s better than most people on the team,” said Ian Campbell, a member of the team.
A lot of Wang’s friends said that they could not imagine Wang playing football. Their comments clearly show how surprised the people were when they found out about her playing football.
“She’s crazy! It’s really cool how she plays but tackling a bunch of buff guys five days a week is probably too much for her to handle,” her friend Isaac Hong said.
Wang’s participation in the sport has inspired many kids to do the things they love regardless of what other people think. “Having a girl in football proves people wrong about the sport. She proves that not only boys can play football, but girls can too. She’s an inspiration to us all,” said Amanda Kwok, Wang’s best friend.