HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KSNW) — The Haysville West 8th grade football team is led by starting quarterback Emmie Cooper.
“I had a football in my hand since I was born,” said Cooper.
She followed in the footsteps of her older brother. Her parents, Jarron and John Cooper, have cheered her on from the beginning.
“It was probably the most empowering feeling ever watching your daughter play football,” explained Jarron. “Watching her be the starting quarterback, watching her do everything she’s wanted to do.”
Cooper started playing in elementary school, where she caught the attention of her now-head coach Brett Marrs.
Marrs said Emmie stood out right away because she is an all-around athlete. She plays competitive softball and basketball. She even picked up wrestling which has helped her tackling, among many other things.
“Physics, mechanics, being a leader on and off the field,” said Emmie.
She is a leader that doesn’t shy away from competition, despite being the only girl on the team.
“She takes command of the huddle, just being that leader on the field, telling those boys, hey listen,” explained Marrs.
But Emmie can hold her ground as well. If she gets knocked down, she gets right back up, walks to the huddle, and calls the next play.
“There is something when she walks out on that field, explained Jarron. “She just turns into a different kid. Her mindset is completely different.”
Emmie is uncertain how long she’ll play football, but she is certain her journey will inspire other girls to give it a try.
“Try new things,” said Emmie.
“I hope it inspires them,” explained Jarron. “I hope when they see her, they think she can do it, so I can do it too. I hope that’s what they think because I never want a little kid or little girl to think they can’t do a sport or can’t do something because it’s possible. It’s always possible.”