CHICAGO (CBS) — A soccer standout at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein is now kicking it with the boys varsity football team.
As CBS 2’s Matt Zahn reports, Jillian Walsh has been a perfect addition to the team.
“A guy who’s on the football team told me they didn’t have a kicker,” said Jillian Walsh. “I was just thinking to myself ‘what if I played football?'”
That thought came four years ago when Jillian Walsh first decided to play football. Now she’s kicking, quite well, for the Carmel Catholic Corsairs varsity team, a perfect 22 of 22 on extra points this season.
And from day one, she’s been just one of the guys on the team.
“As long as she makes her kicks and puts points on the board, which she does, and does a really good job of, then they’re really happy. She brings a really good, fun and exciting mindset to practice. It’s fun having her around,” added Carmel Catholic head coach Blake Annen.
She said most of her opponents have been very accepting of her. And in the rare cases they’re not, she knows the guys definitely have her back.
“They’re usually pretty accepting, guys on the other team, but some of them will say stuff to me or try to hit me on purpose. But my teammates will make sure that’s handled. They’ll rough em up a little bit,” Walsh said with a laugh.
And she admits taking a hit from an opponent.
“Yeah, one time. It wasn’t bad,” Walsh remembered. “Our quarterback stood up and shoved him. He said ‘get off our kicker,'” said Walsh.
And Jillian has a message for any other girls out there who might be giving football, or some other so-called “boys sport” a chance:
“I think sometimes we’re too scared to do something what is represented as just a boys thing. Girls should be able to anything guys can do,” Walsh said.