Local Girl Appears in Nike’s “Find Your Fast” CampaignAug 10, 2015 10:46AM ● By Bryan Scott
12-year-old Samantha Gordon proves girls can play tackle football right alongside boys.
By Aimee L. Cook
Who says girls can’t play tackle football as good as boys?
Twelve-year-old Samantha Gordon might have something to say to those naysayers. Since 2012 Sam has been rushing and tackling alongside boys her age and that got the attention of the folks at Nike.
“Sam started playing football at recess when she was in second grade,” Brent Gordon, Sam’s father said. “Her older brother, Max, played tackle football. When Sam was in third grade, Sam attended Max’s practices and joined the team’s end-of-practice wind sprints. Sam beat most of the boys on Max’s team during those wind sprints. After a practice, Max’s coach talked to Sam and told her he thought she could be a good running back. The next year, Sam played with the boys.”
Sam recently traveled to California at the request of Nike to be part of the “Find Your Fast” campaign, which brought many of the world’s fastest athletes together to inspire other athletes to train for their fastest time. Sam had the opportunity to meet Richard Sherman, a cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, while filming her 3-second stint. A few of the other athletes in the commercial are Serena Williams, Michael Johnson and Rafael Nadal.
Sam is no stranger to the spotlight. Her father posted a video of Sam in 2012 showing off her skills that went viral. In addition, she has appeared on a Wheaties cereal box making her the first female football player to be featured on the box.
Being an avid soccer player too, Sam has big goals for her future in athletics.
“I love playing football! It’s really fun to hit hard and make tackles and to score touchdowns,” Sam said. “My goal is to play soccer for the US Women’s National team and win a World Cup and Gold Medal.”
Sam and her dad are founding members of the Utah Girls Tackle Football League. Started by Crystal Sacco, the football league was a dream come true. Sacco had wanted the opportunity to play football as kid and did not get the chance until she was 26 years old and joined a semi-pro adult women’s football team.
“I had to learn how to play from the ground up, because I had given up on that dream after my gymnastic coach had told me it was only for boys,” Sacco said. “The things I had learned from playing football were huge. My teammate, Angela Cox who is one of our board of directors for the Utah Girls Tackle Football League, had told me that we should start a youth tackle football league for girls. She kept saying the talent is in the kids. I thought that was a great idea, and we decided to hang up our helmets and football pads after playing for a few years with adults and started a youth girls tackle football league.”
Sam is well on her way to being a super star. Not many kids get invited to watch the Super Bowl by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but Sam did.