Chandler teen becomes first female football player to sign national letter of intent SanTan Sun News

Chandler teen becomes first female football player to sign national letter of intent

May 10th, 2017 | by SanTan Sun News
Chandler teen becomes first female football player to sign national letter of intent
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By Jason Skoda

A Basha High School senior is burning brightly in the national spotlight now, but it all really began more than a decade ago.

Becca Longo became the first female football player to sign a national letter of intent for football, and the news brought national interviews with CNN, ESPN and “Good Morning America.” None of that was the goal when she began idolizing Heidi Garrett more than a decade ago, after Longo saw her kick for her brother’s high school team in California. Garrett holds the national record for females with a 48-yard field goal.

Nor was it the dream when Longo was in San Diego for a soccer tournament and she booted a penalty kick so high and far past the goal that people on the sidelines mockingly made the sign for a good field goal.

It’s only now that Division II Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, saw enough in her recruiting tape she sent out and the confidence she showed in the initial visit at Basha to give her an opportunity. Reportedly, a female has never gotten a football scholarship at the Division I or II level until Longo signed her letter of intent last month.

“It’s crazy to think about it and how much it is blowing up,” Longo said. “Everyone is saying I’m the first one to do it, and that’s hard for me to believe. It’s just a title. It doesn’t change anything for me. I just want to do what I love.”

The love started for good when she saw Queen Creek playing spring ball her freshman year.

“Me and my friend said we were going to play football,” said Longo, who kicked for the Bulldogs’ JV team as a sophomore. “Only, I really did.”

It’s that kind of mentality that sealed the deal for Adams State coach and former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Timm Rosenbach.

“What I want to make clear is that hosted a show with her a cappella club, the Perry Pipes, to raise money for the group. Williams helped raise money so the students with special needs could buy soccer shorts and inspired the school principal to purchase matching jerseys.

“Receiving this award represented all the years of my life that I had dedicated to Girl Scouting and it was the biggest example of what is achievable when I can put hard work and dedication into a certain task,” Williams said.

The Gold Award winners were recognized March 25 at the Girl Scout High Award Ceremony at The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain. (she) is capable of doing this at this level,” Rosenbach said. “Do I see her making 54-yarders or kicking off for us? No, but I’ve seen players aged 18 to 35 miss a lot chip shots. As long as you make the kicks you are supposed to make, then you have something.

“In just talking to her, you can tell there is a mental toughness. She is the one who put herself out there. This is something she wants to do, so if she is good enough to do it, we should afford her the opportunity.”

It is one she is not taking lightly.

Longo made a 30-yard field goal and 30 of 33 field goal attempts last season after sitting out 2015. Now she is headed to Alamosa in the fall ready to do whatever it takes to succeed.

“I just want to go and kick, and play basketball,” said Longo, who hopes to play both sports. “I plan on studying sports management and focusing on my schooling. I know I am getting a chance to do something that most people don’t so I am going to do my best to make it happen.”

And if she happens to inspire some younger girls, like Garrett did for her, then she will do her best to do just that along the way.

“It is hard to put into words what all of this means,” she said. “I never expected any of this and I am speechless when it comes to the amount of support and help I’ve received to get me through this process.
“I just want to kick and get better, but if it can inspire some young girls to do something like that then I hope it works out like a dream like it has for me.”

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