St. Clair County freshman kicker becomes first girl football player in school history

St. Clair County freshman Kylee Harrell is the first female football player in school history. (

The St. Clair County High School football team will take the field{}Thursday{}night for its season opener at Moody, and while the opening kickoff will be a special moment for all players on both sidelines, it will be a historic occasion for Kylee Harrell.

Harrell, a 14-year-old freshman at St. Clair Co., will become the first female player in school history to suit up for the Fighting Saints football team. The longtime soccer player will serve as the placekicker for the team.

"I watched [a movie]. There was a girl quarterback. Everybody was talking about her. It just seems fun," said Harrell.Harrell's mother, Sondra Sheats, said while she knew her daughter wouldn't be a cheerleader, she never imagined she would have a girl strapping on a helmet and pads, playing football with the boys.{}"I know we didn't have cheerleaders, but I did not expect for my child to play football," said Sheats.{}Harrell is no stranger to kicking a ball, having played soccer for around a decade. But those close to her never thought the talented, strong-legged teen would end up kicking a ball anywhere but in a net.{}{}"She has an unbelieveable leg. So, the fact that she can kick a football doesn't really surprise me. The fact that she's playing football surprises me," said Sheats.{}Harrell first caught the attention of Saint Clair Co. head coach Alan Lee, who is known for his ability to spot talent and no non-sense approach on the field. At first sight, he knew Harrell could add something to the team.{}"She had played competitive soccer. {}So we talked with her in the off season about it," said Lee." She came out to a camp this summer and did fairly well with it."{}Despite the obvious differences between her and her teammates, Harrell said she feels right at home with the boys as they treat her like their little sister."They have accepted her as a part of the team. You are concerned about that when she first comes out is how the team is going to react and how she is going to react to them. {}Its just been real good," said Lee.{}Harrell's goal for her football debut is to keep her nerves in check and hopefully help the Fighting Saints start off the year with a win.