Savannah Zaragoza: First female FUHS football player


Freshman Savannah Zaragoza. Photo by Anthony Rugama.

Traditionally, high school football is exclusive to male players, but not at FUHS. Being the first girl to play on the football team at FUHS, freshman Savannah Zaragoza is leaving her mark in FUHS history.

According to Coach Gus Martinez, Zaragoza is the only girl to make it through training to the actual season.

“In my 23 years here, since 1994, we have not heard of a female make it to this point,” Martinez said. “We have had females come out in spring football, summer football, but never actually get to the helmet part, and shoulder pads, and tackling.”

Despite this anomaly, Coach Elliott Rivera believes Zaragoza fits in well.

“From what I can see at this standpoint, she blends right in,” Rivera said. “She plays, goes hard, she catches, she’s not afraid of anything. She falls right in like one of the guys.”

However, Zaragoza says her teammates’ feelings didn’t start that way.

“Some of them don’t get why I did it,” Zaragoza said. “They don’t understand why I would play football, instead of basketball or softball. Some of the varsity players will look at me and be like, ‘Uh, ok.’”

“When I do the things they don’t think I can do, then they start to realize that it doesn’t matter. I can be just as good as them.”

Fortunately, her and the team later bonded well. “Because we have first period weight lifting, we all make fun of each other like a family,” Zaragoza said. “Which is basically what we are, on the field and out.”

Her teammates weren’t the only ones skeptical about her participation; Zaragoza’s father was also against her choice initially.

“At first, he did not like the fact that I wanted to play football,” Zaragoza said. “In the summer, I had argued with him. He didn’t want me to play football. He only really worried about my grades.”

Even though Zaragoza is the only female playing football at FUHS, she doesn’t let that stop her in any way.

“I actually look at it as if I was a normal player,” Zaragoza said. “Even if I wasn’t a girl, it would be the same for me. Your gender doesn’t really matter, it’s just what you can do and what you can’t do is what stops you.”