'I want to prove girls can play, it's not just a boy's sport!' Nine-year-old sensation is first female football player put on Wheaties box
Sam Gordon, 9, has become one of the fastest children in her local football league just a year after she started playing
Weighing not even 60lbs, she fearlessly tackles male players up to 150lbs
22:37 GMT, 22 November 2012
Samantha Gordon, 9, is too fast for boys to catch her on the football field, earning her the nickname Sweet Feet and now the cover of a Wheaties box.
The young sensation, who goes by Sam, joins the likes of Michael Jordon and Tiger Woods to become the first female football player to star on the cereal packaging – a cultural icon well known for featuring prominent athletes on its exterior.
The mini quarterback told ESPN: 'One of my goals was…I wanted to prove that girls can play, it's not just a boy's sport.'
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Star athlete: Samantha Gordon, 9, is too fast for boys to catch her on the football field, earning her the nickname Sweet Feet and now the cover of a Wheaties box
What started as a way to keep up with
her big brother, Max, turned Sam into a star player in her local,
all-boys football league in Utah, becoming one of the fastest children
in the Salt Lake City area ‘Gremlins’ league.
She explained: 'I usually play
soccer, but after practices I would go and pick up my brother and I
would do the speed drills with them, and then most of the time I was
beating members of his team.
'So I thought, “Hey maybe I could play too”. And then I tried out and made it on the team.'
Great heights: The mini quarterback told ESPN: 'One of my goals was…I wanted to prove that girls can play, it's not just a boy's sport'
Role model: The young sensation joins the likes of Michael Jordon and Tiger Woods to become the first female football player to star on the cereal packaging
Fearless: Weighing not even 60lbs, Sam is playing in a team of much bigger boys including a boy who weighs more than 150lbs
A video posted online by her father, Brent Gordon, last week showed her play
highlights, and it quickly went viral as people continue to be amazed at what the
young, fearless girl can do – and she has only been playing for a year.
Excited but humble about her new found
fame, she said: 'I think it's really great. My mom told me it's a real
athletic breakfast, and Michael Jordon was on it for a long time. So I'm
really proud to be on the Wheaties box.'
'Sweet Feet': Nine-year-old girl Sam Gordon has become one of the fastest children in her local football league in Utah
Weighing not even 60lbs, Sam is
playing in a team of much bigger boys including a boy who weighs more
Also proud to be a role-model for athletic girls everywhere, she said: 'To do all this stuff as girl is a once and a life time opportunity.'
She added: 'I don't think [the boys] tease me at all, but I think sometimes they get a little embarrassed though.
'[The best is] being the girl out there, and to be scoring on the boys and the boys be like, “Ding it, I just got beat by a girl”.
Her coach Chris Staib was quoted by Yahoo!Sports saying: ‘She could cut and follow blocks like a college football player.’
Asked about the authenticity of the original video, he said: ‘Oh it's real. That's her. I was there for all of that.’
Despite being so much smaller than all the other players, Mr Gordon said Sam is used to playing rough.
He said from his office in Idaho: ‘I
started her out in soccer at four-years-old and we would play out in the
yard and my son's friends were pretty aggressive and rough.
‘She could really handle a lot of the
physical play. There were some games where she'd fall down and just keep
going. She would get kicked in the face, kicked in the gut and just
Star player: Sam Gordon, center left, pictured in action has earned teh nickname 'Sweet Feet' from her teammates after becoming one of the fastest kids the Salt Lake City 'Gremlins' league had ever seen
Remember the name: Sam Gordon's coach Chris Staib say the 9-year-old – who doesn't even weigh 60lbs – can 'cut and follow blocks like a college football player'
Mr Gordon said that Sam told her: ‘Some kids, right before the contact, they stop. ‘I don't. I just hit 'em.’
He said: ‘That's not something I taught her.’
Asked whether she thinks girls should be able to play in the NFL, she said: 'I think they should, I dunno if they'd try out, but I think they should be able to.'
Mr Gordon said it took her some time to adjust when she first started playing.
He said: ‘She had a little bit of a struggle.
team lost a couple of games. Since she was the primary ball carrier,
she felt a lot of pressure to win. She felt blame for losing.
In action: Sam Gordon, center in white, leaves the the boys in her wake as she scores another touchdown. She started playing football as a way play with her big brother
Breakaway: Sam (far right in white top) outruns the other players on the field featured in her play highlights video which has gone viral online
To keep up with her big brother: Sam (centre) started playing to keep up with the boys and so can handle the physicality of the game as well as outrunning most players on the field, some two years older than her
‘With Sam, I keep questioning myself. Am I trying to make it something it's not because I'm her dad I asked my brother, “OK, am I just being a crazy dad here Or is this really cool”’
Sam did admit however that soccer is her favourite sport. She revealed with delight: 'Abby Wambach tweeted me and she said, “Hey, you can come to one of our games or practices.”
'So my dad and I are going to fly out to Phoenix and go one one of their practices and games!'
VIDEO: Sam has been stunning onlookers with her impressive footballing displays