Mexico Just Got its First Female College Football Kicker, 21-Year-Old Andrea Martínez
Andrea Martínez, a 21-year-old law student at the National Autonomous University of México, has been recruited as the country’s first female college football kicker. When Martínez tried out for the team, she assumed the school had a women’s team where she might be placed, but was told she would be playing alongside the men.
In an interview with the Associated Press, she said, “… I did not even fully understand that I was going to be the first woman. I thought there were more girls or that there was even going to be a women’s team.”
Martínez got her start as a soccer player before trying out for the university’s football team after they posted an open call for place-kickers.
Martínez wasn’t out to play football specifically, but saw that she could take her talents as a soccer player and apply it to a new game. “The decision I made was to try a new sport. Nothing else, just to venture out and see what it was all about,” she said. “I was very happy when I heard the news that I had been the girl selected.” Martínez explained that she had never been a big fan of football, but it helped that her brother was.
She’s not the only soccer player transitioning into football, especially as it becomes more popular throughout the country. The NFL recently estimated that there are about 48 million football fans in Mexico and the numbers are only growing.
Martínez is also not the first female college football kicker, although she is the first one in Mexico. In 1997, Willamette Bearcats kicker Liz Heaston became the first woman in the country to play that position on a college team. However, Jacksonville State kicker Ashley Martin was the first woman to score a point as a kicker in 2001.
Although she does have her own locker room, not much else is different. “Coexistence is the same as with girls. But the way we live together, the way we talk to each other, the way we support each other, the jokes we make, it’s the same,” Martínez said in reference to how she practices with the team. “I get along very well, I have gotten to know them, not only in the gym but here on the field as well. There are 67 more siblings that I have so far.”
It was never Martínez’s intention to become a celebrity, but that’s exactly what’s happened as a result of her new gig. So far, Martínez has done more than 80 interviews and has seen herself on the cover of every major newspaper in the country and even on national television, a rarity for any college football player.
“There are little girls and boys who come and ask me for a photo or come up and say very nice words to me,” she said. “It’s the most gratifying thing I’ve ever felt, being able to realize that, perhaps I’m inspiring them a little.” The 21-year-old player acknowledges that she’s become a source of empowerment for young women interested in pursuing sports.