WAYLAND, Mich. — A female football player is playing alongside the boys in Wayland, and the coach there says she’s one of the strongest players on the team.
Briana Balder is in the eighth grade at Wayland Middle School. She has been playing football since the second grade. Briana said that she was first inspired to join the all male team by her mother, who also played football when she was in school.
“You have to go out there because people say girls can’t do what guys can do, but that’s a lie. You can do it and its really not that hard. You just have to prove them wrong,” said Balder.
Wildcats head coach Troy Diller said that over the last two seasons, Briana has become one of his toughest players.
“I have seen very few guys that actually out do her. She’s quick and she’s physical, gets her hands on them, and she does her job,” said Diller.
Coach Diller also said when Briana gears up and hits the field, the opposing teams fear her just as much as her male teammates.
“The players on the other team, as far as they know when she’s out there playing, they have no idea she’s a girl. They will see maybe her hair stick through. That’s about all they can see and if they are looking at her hair, it’s probably because she’s already knocked them down,” said Diller.
Briana said that she wants to try playing volleyball in high school, but if she misses football, she won’t hesitate to try-out for the team. Whether she continues to play, Briana’s message to other girls is simple.
“They’re always like, ‘oh she’s a girl, she can’t do much,’ but girls can do the exact same thing guys can do,” said Balder.