High school student breaking stereotypes as only girl on football team

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High school student breaking stereotypes as only girl on football team

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Aug 20, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - For Chelsea Zayas, playing this game is about more than just touchdowns and tackles.

"I knew there were going to be guys that say 'girls can't play football,'" she said. "I just wanted to defy that."

So she signed up the first chance she had. Now she plays on the Palo Verde High School Freshmen team, and she's one of maybe three girls on a football team in all of the Tucson Unified School District.

She now practices out on the field everyday, right alongside her male teammates.

"If you say 'yeah' to the coach instead of 'yes coach,' he'll make you drop and do push-ups or run suicides back and forth, back and forth" she said.

Of course there are some aspects of playing on an all-boy team that she wasn't quite expecting.

"When they put their arms up, it stinks so bad," she said.

The school's athletic director, Jason Karn, says her teammates might be questioning why she's there, but she's doing the same drills and the same workouts as everyone else.

"I think she looks like she's about as tough as any of the boys here on campus, so we're proud to have her," he said. "If somebody were to give her a little bit of a cheap shot or something like that, her teammates are going to stand up for her."

Chelsea's mother Cabrina Hayes says she couldn't be more proud and can't wait to bring the whole family to cheer her on from the stands.

"Just to watch her out there and play with these guys and show them I'm here and I'm staying," said Hayes.

Chelsea is now looking forward to her first quarterback sack as a defensive guard.

"Show them wrong," she said. "Show all of my teammates that they were wrong."

Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports for the evening newscasts.