Female football phenom

Kelechi Bennet isn't afraid to step out of her comfort zone and take it to the end zone.

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Kelechi Bennet isn’t afraid to step out of her comfort zone and take it to the end zone.

Leila Harper, Beyond the Gates Editor

Sophomore Kelechi Bennet has been playing football since sixth grade and has been a part of Armijo’s team since her freshman year.
Bennet realized that she wanted to play competitively back when she was in elementary school. Being friends with a lot of boys who played for city teams, she would see them in their jerseys at school and ask about them. After learning about their games, practices, and the championships the boys participated in, she was interested enough to want to join. “I went to a couple of practices and games, talked to coaches,” Bennet said, “and I basically fell in love with the sport.”
The best part about football is “more of a feeling than a physical thing.” It’s the thrill from the action of suiting up, the rush of playing and [getting a hit on] the opposite team, the companionship of sideline conversations and going out to eat with the team after games.
In her free time, she’ll sleep, or spend more time with her teammates outside of the sport, as well as with her friends and girlfriend. When asked what her least favorite thing about the game was, Bennet said, “Losing, but everyone hates losing.”
Being a girl in any competitive sport has its challenges. Being one of the few girls on a co-op sports team notorious for only having boys compete, Bennet’s experience playing football might have more trivialities than the majority of her teammates. “Usually when I tell people I play, they just think it’s really cool and that I’m ‘brave’ for playing with the boys,” she said, “but it’s not really a big deal to me.”
Her family and friends are nothing but supportive of her. “Everyone I’ve ever played with and any of my coaches have probably held me to higher standards than the rest of the team because of how physical football is.”
Her first time scoring a touchdown stands out as a favorite memory of Bennet. “It was my seventh grade year, my second year playing football,” she said. “We ran a fake handoff down the middle and a reverse handoff to the wide receiver (me) so I got the ball and ran as fast as I could. While I was running I could hear the parents on the sideline cheering, my coaches cheering, my teammates cheering. And when I finally got to the end zone I turn around and see all my teammates running at me cheering, smiling and jumping up and down. It was the best feeling.”

From then on, curating her passion for the sport has continued into high school and has since allowed Bennet to pursue an activity that she is dedicated to.
In the future, she plans to continue to pursue sports in college, whether that be football, or something different, like basketball or running track.

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