Becca Longo is 18. She can kick a football farther than you can. She’s got a scholarship. And she’s just getting started. Watch and learn.
They cruise down the dusty, open road, the teacher and the pupil, the making of history only months away.
What a pair they are as they roll through the 115-degree heat outside Phoenix on Highway 202, the intense desert sunlight bouncing off the black Mercedes sedan. Together they gaze into the barren landscape dotted with saguaro cacti and mesquite trees, and both see the same vision: a future in which a woman playing Division II football on scholarship is no longer a mirage.
“You are like my second father, and you’re a huge reason I’m doing this,” says Becca Longo, the pupil, riding shotgun. “You’ve made this happen.”
“What separates you from everyone else is that you stuck with it, even in the hard times,” says Alex Zendejas, the teacher and a member of football’s most famous kicking family. “You have all the potential in the world. Keep at it, and who knows? Maybe you’ll be the first female playing on Sundays.”
Close your eyes and imagine that: a woman kicking in the NFL. This is how far the dream now stretches for Longo, 18, who in April became the first female to earn a football scholarship to a Division I or Division II school when she signed with D-II Adams State in Alamosa, Colorado.