Jenna Mears isn’t the first female to play football, and she certainly won’t be the last, but her story travels beyond being a female football player. She’s also plays varsity soccer, is an outstanding student, and was recently named homecoming queen. But above all of that, Mears is someone who is very well liked and respected by her peers. Those close to her say she is a friend first, and a competitor second.
“She just loves competing, playing sports, and embracing everything that high school has had to offer, but she puts those she cares about first. She’s definitely made the most of her time here, and I know she’l do the same when she heads to college,” said fellow student and close friend, Shayna Wallace.
Mears has certainly inherited the reputation as the “All-American” girl that every mother and father would be proud to call their daughter, but we typically aren’t used to many “All-American” girls playing varsity football. Aside from being named the homecoming queen, her well liked personality, and good grades, there isn’t much that is very “typical” about her at all; so what is it that drives Mears to take on the sport that is known to be a “boys only zone.”
“I love football. I’ve loved it ever since I was a little girl. Like most daughters who love sports, my dad got me into it, and ever since then, I’ve been that girl who sits with the men at gatherings and watches football on Saturday’s and Sunday’s,” said, Mears. “I also have always loved soccer, its definitely a passion, and I always wondered, why not use my kicking ability on the football field. It just made sense, and it’s what I wanted to do. So I did,” Mears added.
While she isn’t the first ever female to put on a helmet and shoulder pads, she’s certainly gone through her share of criticism, and like most female athletes that possess a passion for sports, she didn’t pay much attention to what others had to say.
“I expected the reaction I got. Much of my family was against it for a while, and though my parents were pretty supportive, they also had to be persuaded. They were worried, and it was understandable, but I basically told them, ‘I’m playing kicker, not running back.’ That pretty much sealed the deal,” said, Mears, as she smiled and laughed.
It’s plain to see that Mears is currently at a good place in her life. Having the love and support from her family and friends has certainly paid dividends to the success she’s had in high school.
“She gets the love and support that she gets because she deserves it. It’s that simple. It’s the way she carries herself, shes always humble, and kind to others, and works hard. People like that are given respect, and are rooted for,” said, Saugus head varsity football coach, Jason Bornn.
On Friday, Oct. 11, senior, Jenna Mears was adored by nearly thousands of students, parents, and faculty member, as she was named the the 2013 homecoming queen, just about an hour before kickoff against league rival Valencia High. Mears had to quickly change out of her homecoming dress, into her helmet, and pads so she could be ready to play; and although the Saugus Centurions failed to come up with a win, as they fell to the Valencia Vikings 38-24, it was still without question a night to remember for, Jenna Mears, who aside from being named homecoming queen, made all 3 of her field goal attempts.
“No matter what I go on to do in college, and after college, I’ll never forget my time here at Saugus [High School], and the night at homecoming. It obviously sucks that we lost, but we still have time to rebound,” said, Mears.
Females participating in football is for the most part frowned upon by much of our society. For many, its no place for girls; besides, coaches would no longer be able to say “you’re playing like a bunch of girls!” With that being said, its surprising to see Mears receive all the support that she’s had thus far. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she’s just the 2nd female kicker Saugus has had in the past 4 years. Angie Weiner was the most recent Centurion to tackle varsity football, and she too was given the same support.
While she wont be receiving scholarship offers to kick field goals at division 1 schools, Mears has de doesn’t have much left in her high school career, and there is still a lot to be decided in terms of her future, but as of now, she’s simply going to make the most out of her final year at Saugus, and embrace every twist and turn may take place.