Football Queen Encourages Girls to Step Outside of Their Comfort Zone

There’s no such thing as failure, just a new starting line.

That’s just one of the life lessons 21-year-old Brianna Amat says she learned by being the only female on her former high school’s football team.

Amat is a native of Pinckney, Mich., a small town about 20 miles north of Ann Arbor. She sprung into fame in 2011 after being crowned homecoming queen and kicking the game-winning field goal for the Pinckney Pirates varsity football team in the same night.

But just how does a shy young teenager find herself in that kind of spotlight? A willingness to try something new, she says.

After 15 years playing competitive soccer, Amat decided not to go out for the team and instead wanted to spend her senior year focused on academics. That is until her former soccer coach asked if she’d be interested in putting her skills to a new use – as a kicker for the football team.

Despite some reservation, Amat competed against three other (male) students for the spot and ended up being picked.

“He gave me a helmet and said I had to prove my spot just like anyone else,” said Amat. “I had to learn every aspect of the team, wearing equipment and kicking with that on. It was definitely challenging.”

Her teammates were supportive from the very beginning and did not single her out. The only time she even noticed a gender divide was when she would get ready in a locker room by herself.

“As soon as they saw me kick I was part of the team.”

Today, Amat is finishing her business degree at Western Michigan University while working for Red Bull. She no longer plays football competitively, but is involved in inter-mural sports and exercises almost every day.

“Football pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learned to be outgoing and to not be afraid to approach people,” said Amat. She attributes her confidence, competitive edge and willingness to try new things to her experience on the team.

But what does a female football player wear to accept the homecoming crown during half-time? Her gear and pads, of course.

For girls who are considering trying out for a male-dominated sport, here are a few words of motivation from the former football queen herself:

  • Just think, what’s the worst that could happen? You might miss, but that’s just a learning step. There’s no such thing as a failure, just a new starting line.
  • The skills you learn playing football, or any sport really, are useful in everyday life. Confidence, teamwork, dedication, and the challenge of trying something new.
  • Being physically active makes you feel good and helps you perform so much better in other areas of life.

This blog is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s #MIKidsCan Catch campaign, aimed at celebrating the moments inspired by the game of football. Share your football photos on Instagram using #MIKidsCan and #Contest for a chance to score autographed gear, jerseys, game tickets and more. For more information and official rules visit ahealthiermichigan.org/mikidscan.

Photo credit: Vox Efx (main), Brianna Amat

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