The sounds of football practice echo through a stadium in Ventura County. On one end of the field at William Rolland Stadium in Thousand Oaks, members of California Lutheran University’s football team practice a number of pass plays. On the other end, you see the back of a player, Number 49, practicing point after touchdown kicks, or PAT’s through the goal posts. What's unusual is that it's not a he, it's a she.
Morgan Salzwedel is the first female football player in the history of the more than half century old university.
The Kingsmen were stretched thin on kickers this season . While Salzwedel’s first love is soccer, she was a kicker for her high school football team in Northern California, and decided she would try to help fill the gap at CLU. Kingsman Head Coach Ben McEnroe says when she came to them, they gave her a tryout, and they were immediately impressed with her ability.
Teammate Wendell O’Brian says the first time he saw Salzwedel out on the practice field, he was surprised, but then impressed as she saw her kicking ability.
The 5’8” freshmen is far from a novelty, making 11 PAT’s so far this season. Salzwedel says the big game for her was the team’s homecoming game, with both of her parents, who were also athletes at CLU, on hand to watch. She says some of her friends at CLU were surprised at first, but have been very supportive.
She, and her teammates have one more game left this season. The 5-2 Kingmen host Redlands on Saturday.
Salzwedel says she’s hoping to play again next season, even though it will mean juggling between overlapping football and soccer season.
CLU is the parent of KCLU Radio.