'Gender Doesn't Matter': Female Compton Student Makes High School Football History - NBC Southern California

'Gender Doesn't Matter': Female Compton Student Makes High School Football History

"At this level of football, gender doesn't matter. If you can get the job done, you're the go-to person."

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    Local Athlete Makes Football History

    A high school student from Compton has made history as the first female player to participate in the Plays and Grades California All Star Football Classic. Marin Austin reports for the NBC4 News on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. (Published Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017)

    A high school student from Compton made history Sunday as the first female player to participate in the Plays and Grades California All Star Football Classic.

    "Girls don't usually play football," Eriana Pula said.

    But, at 5 feet 10 inches tall and 265 pounds, she's proving that stereotype wrong.

    On Sunday, the Centennial High School center joined 199 other top high school football players in the state. Of the 200 players, she is the only female to ever get invited to the California High School All-Star Football Classic.

    Each player is scouted during the fall season to showcase for college recruiters in Pomona.

    "I didn't know she was a girl, first of all," tournament scouter Kevin Steele said. "I thought she was any other player."

    Pula believes that skills transcend gender stereotypes. 

    "At this level of football, gender doesn't matter. If you can get the job done, you're the go-to person."

    And suiting up solo is not her biggest challenge.

    Her videos on Facebook have more than one million views, but some of the comments tend to sting.

    Luckily, she has a big support system to combat the haters.

    "I think she has every advantage just like every young man that's out there," her mother Emo Pula said.

    And, Pula is more than just an accomplished athlete. The high school senior carries a 4.3 GPA, she is slated to be the class valedictorian and she is the Associated Student Body President at Centennial High School.

    "I feel truly blessed for them to give me this opportunity," Pula said in a video posted by Compton Unified School District. "I just hope I do good at the game."

    Pula told NBC4 that her goal is to play women's rugby at the college level after graduating high school.

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