Kent State’s April Goss is a rarity — a woman on a Division I college football roster. By the end of this season, she could accomplish something even rarer if she gets the chance to play in a game.
“Before this year’s out, she’ll get out there. I promise you that,” Kent State Coach Paul Haynes said Saturday after his team’s 52-3 loss at Illinois.
“That’s something that I’ve been hoping for a while now,” Goss said. “It’s just all about being patient.”
And she has been.
This is Goss’ fourth season on the Golden Flash roster. Like most walk-ons, the odds of her getting into any particular game are slim. The closest she came was kicking the game-winning extra point in the 2014 spring game.
There have been a handful of women on Division I rosters, among them Katie Hnida, who kicked a pair of extra points for New Mexico in 2003. She was the first woman to score in a major college game. How many women who have played or scored in a game isn’t a stat that’s commonly tracked. But according to STATS LLC, Goss appears to be the only woman currently on a Division I roster.
Haynes says she’s earned that place.
“She works her tail off. She’s the first one out there in practice and the last one off the field,” he said. “Every time someone gets up and talks, one of our players gets up and talks, they always talk about they’ve got brothers, and a sister.”
Like many kickers, her background was in soccer. But as a high school junior in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Goss decided she wanted to play football. She can’t quite explain why. She didn’t have older brothers to follow to the football field, or a parent pushing to make it happen. Kim and Craig Goss were initially horrified, she said.
“They were like, ‘Please, no.’” she said. “It was more of safety concern than anything. It broke my heart when they were like, `Don’t.”’
But she did, playing her junior and senior seasons, kicking extra points. When it was over, she wasn’t ready to stop.
“So in college, they were like, ‘If you can make it, go for it,” Goss said.
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