Girl power on the gridiron

Wade Young

Don’t let her looks or her gender fool you. Dressed in football pads with a fierce determination, Anastasia “Ana” Stasney is out to win on the gridiron. 


According to veteran coaches, Stasney is the first female to play football for Tri-City United School and the previous Montgomery-Lonsdale School District.


Ana’s introduction to football started when her brothers Tadd, 23, and Jayden, 20 played the sport. Even then, she thought it was rather boring - until she started to play it. 


The speed, athletics and agility piqued her interest when she was in sixth grade at TCU Montgomery. During recess, she started playing two-hand touch football with her friends, all of whom are boys. As the year progressed, she started catching on to the game and began to like it.


“Before, I knew nothing about football, but over the school year, I got really good at it,” she explained. “It seemed fun. I had all this height built into me and I could run.”


Ana, the daughter of Dean and Cathy Stasney, was introduced to tackle football at varsity coach Ken Helland’s annual Football Camp held in July.


When she heard her daughter want to play tackle football, Cathy was worried.


“Me, being a mom, I was concerned for her sake emotionally and physically,” she said. “I said there’s going to be boys who aren’t going to give a rip if you’re a girl, and they’re going to tackle … and tackle hard.” 


On the first day, Ana said her presence seemed to bother some players, but her friends rallied around her.


“When I first walked on to the field, I could hear people murmuring and looking at me and stuff, and my friends met me under a tree where they had their stuff. They welcomed me,” she said, adding that there was one boy who asked why she was in football.


The fearless seventh grader told her soon-to-be teammate, “Because I can be!”


Read more in the print edition.


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