Notre Dame Academy welcomes girl power to football team

Notre Dame Academy welcomes girl power to football team
She is the first girl to play on the youth tackle football team. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
She is the first girl to play on the youth tackle football team. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Stoddard is only 8, but she says she might want to play in the NFL one day. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Stoddard is only 8, but she says she might want to play in the NFL one day. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Notre Dame Academy's youth football team is undefeated.

WAVE 3 News can't say number 44, Mekenzi Stoddard, is the sole reason for team's winning record. Every player works hard. However, Stoddard is a game changer.

"I like to knock people down," Stoddard said. "Put their butts on the ground and drag them in the dirt."

Stoddard is the first girl ever to be on team. The 8-year-old wasn't getting enough out of tugging on flags.

"The first time I played flag football I accidentally tackled my cousin," Stoddard remembered.

Stoddard told her mother she needed to play with the boys.

"It blew my mind," Melinda Stoddard said. "But she's always been the aggressive type, so I was like if you want to play go for it."

MORE FROM WAVE3.COM
Hot Take Tuesday: Who's saying what about the world of sports?
Hardin Co. teen to appear on Harry Connick Jr's talk show
Toys R Us joins bankruptcy list as Amazon exerts influence

"(We) checked with CSAA to make sure that it was okay and that they didn't have anything against that," Joe Burke, Notre Dame Academy's athletic director said. "We played a team last year that had a girl on the team."

Stoddard's teammates do not seem to notice a difference.

"I'm not like, 'Ew it's a girl,'" Max Rowe said. "She's really good at football."

According to USA Football, there are roughly 2.5 million youth football players. Around 25,000 of the participants are girls who play tackle football.

The number rapidly declines by high school, but Stoddard plans to keep going.

"I might want to play the NFL too."

USA football has a league finder tool with which anyone can contact coaches to learn more about joining a team.

Copyright 2017 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.