Becca Longo is making history as the reported first female athlete to receive a football scholarship to a NCAA Division II college. But it almost didn't happen.

Becca always wanted to follow in the footsteps of her football playing older brother, but joining her high school's all-male football team was easier said than done. Even once she had proven herself a skilled athlete, she still found herself facing negativity and assumptions that women can't play football quite as well as men. She worked hard and got lucky — her school let her on the team with the boys.

Sophomore year, she was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and running track. She was a kicker on the football team and the team embraced her as one of their own, as they would any other player.


Then — as if busting the stereotype that girls can't play football wasn't hard enough — Becca learned that she had a stress fractures in her back. Doctors gave her the news every athlete dreads hearing: She needed to rest.

Dismayed, Becca spent her junior year strengthening her core and watching her teammates play from the sidelines. Finally, when senior year rolled around, she was ready and more motivated than ever to compete again — and compete she did.

Her story is an inspiration to any girl who wants to play football, and any athlete sidelined by an injury — it just goes to show what doors hard work, determination, and a refusal to bow to stereotypes can open for you.

Check out Becca's journey below:

Say hello to the first woman to land a Division II football scholarship.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, April 19, 2017
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