Keilani Contreras fell in love with football after watching her brother play. Seeing the sparkle in her eyes during football matches, her father signed her up to play the game. Now, she has taken the game to a whole new level, becoming the first girl in her league to score a touchdown, according to Action News Jax. The Jacksonville, Florida native is the first-ever girl to score a touchdown for the Arlington Football Association.
“I was inspired by my brother ever since I was little,” said Contreras. “And one day my Dad said, ‘Do you want to play football?’ So, I said, ‘Sure!’ So, he signed me up, and ever since that, I loved it!”
In the ESYFL, a local spring youth football league, Contreras has now become the second girl in the league’s existence to score a touchdown.
The 11-year-old is proud of herself for scoring the touchdown for her team, which won the game 26-0 on Saturday.
“Yeah, that was like my first touchdown,” said Contreras. “… I felt amazing. Like, I felt really proud of myself.”
Contreras, who has had a traumatizing year, did not let it weigh her down. In March, she was at a Youth Football tournament when an armed man began shooting in Greenland Park. Luckily, there were no casualties. Two months prior to that, she lost her best friend, Deaurra Nealy, who died from MIS-C, a COVID-19 related condition. Nealy died at age 8 so Contreras chooses to don the number eight on her jersey to honor her dear friend.
“I wear the number eight because my best friend, she was like my little sister, she passed away and she passed away at the age of eight,” said Contreras.
“And so, when I was wearing eight, I felt like I had to make her proud, and have to show my honor for her. So, I made that touchdown and I made sure I made that touchdown, and nothing else could stop me there.”
According to her parents, Contreras is an all-around student who has straight A’s in school, and aside from football, she is an amazing artist. She is also very much aware at her age of the inhibitions of many girls to go for what they truly want. Her advice is to not fear to be the determining factor no matter the circumstance.
“Girl power, I feel like that’s a lot because, girls sometimes they’re scared to go out for stuff and sometimes boys might be like, ‘Oh, you can’t do this because you’re a girl. You can’t do that because you’re this,’ or something like that. Well, look at me, I’m a football player!” said Contreras.