There are plenty of female place-kickers competing for schools across the country. There are also a handful of linemen and at least one quarterback and running back.
Now, thanks to a Houston middle schooler, there is apparently a pretty talented female linebacker, too.
As reported by Houston TV network KHOU, Amina Barrett is an eighth-grade football player for Spring (Texas) Twin Creeks Middle School. She walked on to the Twin Creeks squad along with plenty of boys, and unlike some of them she has both past football experience and a direct bloodline connecting her with the sport.
Barrett began playing in fourth grade and has given no indication that she plans to stop competing anytime soon. She may get that stick-to-it-ness from her mother, Mike Frizzell, who played for a professional women's football team in Louisiana before settling in the Houston area.
Now Amina is the star, and she has adamantly refused to be placed in the "safer" roles often targeted for female players. Instead, the younger Barrett plays linebacker, where she gets to do what she likes: "hit people and be aggressive."
And like most talented middle schoolers, Barrett plays on both sides of the ball. When her team has the ball, she checks in as a running back. Put the two positions together, and Barrett is getting just about the maximum amount of contact possible on a prep football field.
Still, her coach insists that there are no kid gloves when it comes to handling the lone female member of his squad, and that she has earned the right to play in the roles she does because of her work within the program's training structure.
"She is a girl, but our kids go hard with her and that way she gets the full experience," said Twin Creeks football coach Chris Brice told KHOU. "[With] speed and agility drills, weight training, I see no reason why any girl couldn't play."
For her part, Barrett said she would readily tell other girls to try the sport if they want to, so long as they're willing to commit to the work needed to succeed.
"Never let anyone ever tell you that you can't. If this is something that you want to do, you work hard. You put your mind to it. Never give up."