Berkley Loper is number 51 on the Brink Junior High School seventh-grade football team. She’s the starting center, often taking boys twice her size.
“We always talked about her brutality and her tumbles and how she needed to play rugby,” said Jeanie Loper, Berkley’s mother.
After seeing her older brother play soccer, Berkley knew what she wanted to do, but her parents signed her up for t-ball.
“We always joked that she played soccer because she loved it every time she ran from first to second, and the player was in the baseline so she had to cross them.” , said Jeanie.
According to his football coach, this aggressiveness has never disappeared.
“She likes the contact. She likes the physical aspect, and I think that’s why she wants to play offensive line and defensive line. She’s not afraid to hit someone, ”said Patrick McKay, Brink’s seventh-year football head coach.
But coach McKay admits that initially he had doubts.
“To be honest with you, I had low expectations, and it’s my fault. But after a couple of days of summer pride, I was okay, yeah, she’s taking care of it, ”McKay said.
This is Berkley’s second year playing football. What did Jeanie think when her daughter decided to play football?
“I was like, very honestly, ‘This is Berkley,’” Jeanie said.
Berkley has earned the respect of his team, thanks to his work ethic and his never-complaining attitude.
“She’s not a girl on the soccer team, she’s a soccer player, and so for the team, she’s just one of the players,” McKay said.
Berkley doesn’t think much about what’s next if she’s going to play in college or even high school. Right now, she’s just having fun playing the game she loves.