CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A teenage girl is breaking new ground at a Charlotte-area middle school after she was the first girl, not only to try out, but to earn a spot on the school's football team.
"She is extremely excited, [but] she tends to keep it under wraps though," mom Michelle Antinarelli told WBTV. "With me, she's very exited at home, but amongst friends and teammates, she's very chill."
Her daughter, 14-year-old Kayla Antinarelli has every reason to be excited. The 8th grader tried out with more than 100 boys for a spot on the Community House Middle School football team last week.
In the end, 33 boys, and Kayla, made the final cut.
Michelle says Kayla made the decision to try out for the team over the summer while playing basketball at the YMCA with a group of guys.
"The boys really [saw] that she's very athletic and just a jock, in general, and they had all been talking about football," Antinarelli said. "These were boys in middle school, as well as some in high school. And [they] encouraged her to try out for the team."
Antinarelli says she was surprised by Kayla's decision but was immediately supportive of her decision.
"I know Kayla. She's not going to put herself in a position that she feels that she's way out of her league," she said. "Because of her interest and her abilities, I thought 'Why not? Let her go for it'."
Mom says Kayla got a lot of support from teammates and even guys from other areas reached out to her after they heard she wanted to try out.
"Some of them weren't quite sure if she was even serious about trying out until she showed up day one," Antinarelli said.
The team's first practice starts Thursday night, with a parents meeting after, so no positions have officially been assigned to the players.
"I believe what she was initially being looked at as a kicker and now it's looking like a wide receiver, as well," Antinarelli said. "Its definitely looking like she might play both roles."
Football isn't the only sport that Kayla loves. In addition to playing basketball, she has also been on a U18 CSA soccer team and has participated in track.
So does mom worry about Kayla getting hurt during the game?
"That was, of course, a logical fear of her being hurt on the field," Antinarelli admitted. "And [Kayla's] response to me was 'Mom, that's what they make pads for'."