GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- She’s a ballerina, a beauty queen and Forest Hills Central’s newest wide receiver.
“I was like you know what, I’m doing this, there’s no question about it, I’m doing it,” 14-year-old Alleya Slaghter said.
She’s the first girl to ever strap on a helmet and head out on Ranger Turf.
Athletic Director Clark Udell sat down with Slaghter last year when she first decided she wanted to join the football team, “just to talk and get an idea of what she was thinking and you know where her motivation and where her heart is”
“It was very evident that she was very determined to be a part of our football program and wanted to contribute everything that she could,” he said.
Alleya says even after a five-hour football practice she doesn’t like to leave because she’s having too much fun. With the school and coach’s support, Alleya’s parents made good on their promise to support her in anything she wanted to do.
“I haven’t been able to discourage her,” Alleya’s dad Brian Slaghter said. “I’ve shown her videos on YouTube and I’ve shown her a variety of things and made her well aware that it’s a violent sport and she is looking forward to that challenge.”
But that doesn’t mean he and Alleya’s mom Cindi, don’t have reservations about their teenage daughter being tackled by a 250-lb 18-year-old boy.
Alleya has been working all summer, training and conditioning for the upcoming season. She says her teammates already accept her and she hopes her courage to try something new serves as a lesson to other young girls.
“I’m hoping that just no matter what anybody says to what they want to do because they will succeed if they really believe they want to do it,” Alleya said.
And for those who think girls don’t have a spot out on the football field Alleya says, “All I have to say is you know, you’ve got your opinions, we’ve got ours and I guess we’ll just have to prove it.”