Katherine Ngo has always been a sports-minded individual, and now as a senior, she is a first-year defense player on Fountain Valley High School (FVHS)’ Mighty Baron football team. Assuming the defensive position of corner, she is in charge of blocking the wide receiver from the ball.
Ever since freshman year, she had her sights set on becoming a part of the team. Watching NFL games often, Ngo became utterly intrigued at the structure of the sport. The extremely thoughtful, strategic plays to her resembled what candy would be for a young child with a sweet tooth; they attracted her attention every time she sat down to watch. She always found herself analyzing them and commentating.
However, only weighing 97 pounds at the time she deemed it unwise to play, and instead chose to join track and field. Through countless hours of practice in addition to sprinting 200 meter and relays, she gained speed, strength and size, making her more confident about playing football.
The highlight that made her seriously consider trying out for the team was the powder puff game she participated in last year as a junior.
“That’s when I was like, this is awesome. I want to keep doing this, and I thought, why do I have to wait to do this again, why do I have to wait a whole ‘nother year to get into it?” said Ngo.
Ngo knew exactly that she wanted to continue playing the sport, but as a female entering a male-dominated sport, she was still unsure about officially trying out for the team. She herself was neutral about the topic, aware of the risks that came with playing football, and couldn’t decide what to do.
She asked a few of the football players she knew, her close track teammates, parents, and brother for their opinions, receiving many “no’s” but also a few pieces of advice encouraging her to just try out. At last, she decided to simply go for it and see how it worked out. She decided if she got hurt, then she would stop.
“Whatever comes out of it comes out of it,” said Ngo.
The following summer of junior year, she signed up for the football camp to do along with the track and field camp. Soon after tryouts, she was ecstatic to find out that she made the team.
Being a part of the team as the only female, she feels, it is no different from being on a co-ed team. She loves how all the players come together as a family even though the JV and varsity teams don’t always play at the same school. She believes the cooperation and communication between the players is key to their bond.
“I really like how we teach each other, so during a game if there’s something going on, they’ll tell them, ‘Hey, you got to fix this,’” said Ngo.
Ngo knows there are other girls who long to run down the field as a member of the team, and she strongly encourages other female students to just try out for the existing team. As one who also faced the odds and runs the risk, she advises others to take a shot at it.
“It’s not about your size or gender, it’s about if you have the heart to play. If you have that passion, if you want to play. [Many girls are] concerned with getting hit hard and getting injured, but it’s not about getting hit, it’s about how you get back up. You’re not alone in this. If you want to, you can see what you got.”
Ngo is one to remember, from her impressive athleticism to her magnetic personality. Her positive, strong mentality and proactive attitude will undoubtedly help her achieve her goals.
Ngo looks forward to testing out other sports while continuing her studies at Cal State Long Beach but for now, her focus is on her last year of high school and improving on backpedaling for the next games to come.