Sam Gordon is the latest young football player to become an Internet sensation by scoring 35 touchdowns, rushing for nearly 2,000 yards and making moves like a young — very young — Walter Payton.
Sam Gordon also happens to be Samantha Gordon, a 9-year-old girl playing in a mostly all-boys tackle football league in the Salt Lake City area. Her father, Brent, uploaded a video to YouTube that has been viewed nearly 2 million times.
“When she was about 3 or 4 years old and we would play soccer out in the yard with my older son … and they’d try to be a little bit rough with her and even intentionally try to kick the ball at her and she wouldn’t be fazed and would keep getting up,” Gordon said on “Good Morning America.” “I kind of had an idea that she’s got an aggressive mentality back then.”
Gordon, nicknamed “Sweet Feet,” is a star on Ute Conference team she joined as a starting quarterback after acing nearly every speed and agility drill in tryouts. She also happens to have 65 tackles and her father admits that he was worried about how the video would be received, particularly the part that shows some fairly hard hits.
“I wasn’t really sure what kind of response people would have,” he said. “I thought it was impressive and it appears that other people enjoy watching her as well.”
The league features only running plays, which suits Gordon, who switched from soccer to football after watching BYU games with her father. Quickly in her first season, it was obvious that she gets a kick out of football.
“Most of the times it’s just really fun to be the one scoring the touchdowns rather than the boys,” she said.
Girls in the past primarily have been kickers. Now, they’re becoming star positional players. Yahoo writes that Amina Barrett, a middle-schooler in Houston, suited up at linebacker and running back last month. And Erin DiMeglio became the first girl to play quarterback for a high school team in September, according to ESPNW.
It seems fine for older girls, but this 9-year-old, who weighs under 60 pounds, is playing against bigger and stronger boys, as the video clearly shows. In an era of increased awareness of the dangers posed by head trauma in football, it’s fair to ask whether tackle football is right for such young kids.
“I started her out in soccer at 4 years old and we would play out in the yard,” Brent Gordon told Yahoo’s Eric Adelson. “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 keep going.”
Sam Gordon is unquestionably talented and, her father told Adelson, only once has been shaken up from a hit. He said she came out for a few plays, then went back into the game and scored.
“Some kids, right before the contact, they stop,” her father said she told him. “I don’t. I just hit ‘em.”
H/T Big Lead