By Audria Ruscitti
SWC Sports Information Officer
CHULA VISTA Southwestern College women’s soccer sweeper Paola-Ivette Monroy is trying out for the football team. “Weird, I know, but hey, someone’s got to break the barrier” said Monroy. Always ready to try something new, she said she is willing to take the challenge. A well-rounded athlete, Monroy has won trophies for soccer, volleyball, basketball, rollerblading, and has appeared on Real TV for her BMX stunts.
Going for the position of kicker/punter, she has signed up for this semester’s Theory and Application of Conditioning: Football I, which is thought by Defensive Coordinator and Special Teams Coach Dionicio Monarrez Jr., “I’m as serious as a second heart attack,” said Monroy.
“I’ve always been rough,” she said. She tried out for her high school’s wrestling team at Mt. Carmel, but faced opposition because of her gender. They didn’t want a female wrestler, and she changed her mind about trying out for the football team. “I don’t think I’m lesser than a guy,” she said. “If I can give birth to a child as a woman, I think I can take a hit from a helmet.”
Predominantly a men’s sport, college football has had its share of women players. In December of 2002, Katie Hnida was the first woman to play in a Division One game, and the second to dress for one. A junior for the University of New Mexico, she attempted an extra point following a touchdown. Despite her kick being blocked, she made history.
“I don’t just want to be a kicker,” said Monroy. “Everybody expects the girl to be the kicker because that is the untouchable position.” She wants to be the girl that scored the touchdown, she said.
Excited about rumors of the Women’s NFL, Monroy said she wants to play professional football. Pursuing a career as a sports writer, she said a football career would give her an edge.
Women crossing over into a man’s domain does not come with out controversy, and this is no exception. When Heather Sue Mercer of Duke University, the first woman to dress for a Division One game, was cut from the team in 1995, she sued the University for Sexual Discrimination.
Citing reality and politics, Monroy said she understands the implications of a woman making the team. “The only reason if I do make the team, if I’m not good, is because they [the Athletics Department] want the money to come in.” She said a woman on the roster would bring a larger audience to the stadium.
If she does not make the team, she said she would ask the coaches what she did wrong, and what she could improve on. “I wouldn’t think the sport is not made for me,” she said. “I wouldn’t think that girls should not do it.” In fact, she would encourage other girls to try out.
“Maybe there’s a girl out there in middle school or high school that says, ‘I can kick a ball farther than any guy I know,’” said Monroy. “I think I’m going to unlock the door before someone opens it completely.”