Erin Dimeglio isn't the first female football player. She isn't even the first female football player in her home state of Florida, or the first female football player to line up at a position not on the offensive or defensive line.
Yet Erin Dimeglio is an incredibly notable high school football pioneer: She's a female quarterback who is expected to actually play on the field this fall.
Dimeglio is the backup quarterback at South Plantation (Fla.) High. She earned the job fair and square, after being encouraged to try out by her coach, South Plantation football and girls flag football coach Doug Gatewood. And the coach asked her to play because he had seen how well she threw the ball as the star quarterback of the flag football team.
In fact, that's where the entire idea started out. As reported by the Miami Herald, Gatewood encouraged Dimeglio to go through spring workouts and the 7-on-7 passing drills with the boys football team as a way to hone her passing skills for flag football in spring 2013. It turns out that she was so good, the boys football team decided it could use her, too.
Her arm may not be quite as strong as some other passers in the area, but she's outstandingly accurate and showed that she had poise under pressure during the 7-on-7 summer circuit.
"People don't believe it when they see her at first," John Franklin III, who is the passer above Dimeglio on the South Plantation depth chart, told the Herald. "Most girls go to teams and can't do anything. But she can actually play, could probably start for a few teams. She can throw slants, drags, any of that stuff. She threw about a 30-yard fly route to me for a touchdown up in Tampa -- five TDs in all."
That's a pretty good indication that Dimeglio can play with the boys, and that she deserves to get on to the field at some point this fall. Gatewood has promised Dimeglio's parents that he will try and minimize the amount of time she spends in games where the outcome is still in doubt as a way to try and decrease the threat of contact.
For her part, Dimeglio isn't even shying away from that, or her older sister's incredulence that she would want to play tackle football.
"My [older] sister [Amy] thinks I'm crazy," said Dimeglio, who changes into her football uniform and puts on her pads in an empty girls locker room while the rest of her teammates change on the other side of the school. "But I just think this is so much fun. I've played flag football since the fourth grade. Scoring on boys is really fun, just to see their reactions, see the coaches get mad. I'll be nervous, yeah. But this is like any other game. You just have to get in the zone and play."