Kasey Dunn is the first female player to play on a Keller football team. As only a sophomore, she made the JV Gold team. Such a new and foreign idea of a girl football player was a long time coming, as many schools have already added female players to their teams.
For Dunn, it was more than conquering a task never done before, it was about family. She used to enjoy playing games of football with her family, and since fourth grade she played football with her friends. But what inspired her to officially join the team was her grandfather.
“My grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, and colon cancer all at one time. That made me think of someone I had already lost, my godfather died when I was in sixth grade,” Dunn said.
She wanted to be able to share something with her grandparents before she ran out of time with them. Dunn tried out for soccer, but was cut during tryouts.
“My grandparents wouldn’t be able to come to any of my games so I thought, ‘Well, spring football season, he’ll still be around for that,” Dunn said.
She went to the coaches and worked with them on how she would fit into the team’s male dominant sport. There would be many obstacles to overcome, but she had her mind set.
“I just wanted to do something that he could come to like a high school game and see me do, and so the scrimmage he came to that and it was a really fun experience and then I decided to keep going with it because I enjoyed it,” Dunn said.
The most difficult parts were the locker room situations, special uniform, and communicating.
“Communication was one of the biggest things ‘cause the first day of school was miserable. It was down pouring weather and thunderstorming so they put me in the cross country locker room. I thought we were doing practice because there was no lightning or anything, it was just raining, so I went outside and looked on the field but no one was out there, even though I heard whistles. I saw the light on in the weight room so I had to get changed really fast and missed play reviews,” Dunn said.
Normally, communication between coach and player is done in the locker room. The boys’ locker room is only a few feet away from the coach’s office, but for Dunn, who is located in another locker room, she has less access to the same information that the boys receive.
“My locker room is probably about 30 yards from the coaches’ offices, so if you take the boy’s distance of five feet compared to 30 yards, that’s a huge difference on the field and a huge difference in the locker room, too,” Dunn said.
Her family and friends stood with her the whole way. But she could tell the guys were going to have to get used to the new addition to their team.
Her favorite part is the bonding experience.
“Getting to know how my friends are in their actual environment, when they can be themselves around other guys; in school they’re judged by peers and teachers but out on the field there’s no limits, you’re there with your friends and you’re learning and doing something that you love,” Dunn said.