Green making history with Troy High football

By: Timothy Pontzer, | Troy Times | Published September 19, 2017

TROY — Like many kids her age, Jessica Green loves football.

Only 14 years old, Green is a huge fan of the Detroit Lions, citing Matthew Stafford as her favorite player. A freshman at Troy High, she regularly goes to games on Friday nights, cheering on her older brother, Jacob, who is a junior tight end and outside linebacker with the Colts varsity squad.

However, unlike most girls her age, Green actually plays the sport, suiting up as a kicker and wide receiver for the JV team at Troy. Donning bright pink gloves, Green does not shy away from her role as the first female player in program history.

 Troy High freshman Jessica Green catches a pass during a Sept. 13 practice. In her first year playing football, Green has earned a job as a starting wide receiver and kicker for the Colts JV team.

Troy High freshman Jessica Green catches a pass during a Sept. 13 practice. In her first year playing football, Green has earned a job as a starting wide receiver and kicker for the Colts JV team.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

“I’m never scared; I’m proud to be here,” Green said after a Sept. 13 practice. “I don’t hide; I don’t care what other people might think. My hair sticks out of the helmet anyway, so I chose these gloves too.”

Green is getting her first experience on the gridiron, never playing previously in any flag football or powder puff leagues.

“I’ve thrown around the football with my brother and dad out in the yard a lot, but I never was allowed to play anywhere officially,” Green said. “In middle school, I did cheer because that was as close as I could get to the field.”

An experienced club soccer player, Green initially joined the Colts as a kicker. However, she showed her abilities on offense, earning a spot as a starting wide receiver.

“She’s willing to mix it up with the boys, and she’s all about it,” said Troy JV coach Jason Taylor. “We’re trying to get her to give up soccer, but we know that isn’t happening. She started out just to kick, but she really gets it, and she’s taken off.”

Taylor said Green is an excellent blocker and can split the uprights from over 30 yards out.

“She’s a great kid to have out here, and we treat her like anyone else. She’s earned it,” Taylor said. “We feel comfortable sending her out there in any situation.”

Green said she has been warmly welcomed by all of her teammates, but that same support has not always come from opposing sidelines.

“Opponents are sometimes not the nicest, especially when they see they have to go up against a girl,” Green explained. “It’s funny, though. After games when we go to slap hands with the other team, they’ll ask for my number, Instagram and stuff like that. It’s really funny.”

Green said she enjoys the physicality that soccer lacks.

“In soccer you can’t make a lot of contact, but in football you can,” Green said. “It’s fun to tackle. But with being a girl, I feel like I’m constantly having to prove myself. I’ve already done it in games and practices, but the other team doesn’t know that.”

Green said it is all worth it, especially with some of the feedback she is hearing from younger girls.

“A girl came up to me and said that I was her hero because I was actually playing football,” Green said. “It was really crazy to hear that, but very cool. I’m glad that I’m able to inspire other girls.”

Troy’s varsity coach, Chris Frasier, praised Green, calling her a great addition to his program.

“It’s a great thing to see. She’s been very proactive the whole time,” Frasier said. “I was nervous she might be shy or intimidated by the boys, but she did her part and is part of the group. She’s passionate about football, and she’s all in. We just think of her as a member of the team. She’ not a girl or a guy — we just support her as a teammate.”