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Monday, October 14, 2019

San Mateo’s Only Girl on JV Football

laly

Being the only girl on the JV football team isn’t easy, but Xitaly Perez, better known as Laly, says it’s worth it.

“I’ve learned that anyone can be your family,” the sophomore said. “I’ve made a new family within a few weeks.”

Besides a family, Laly has also gained the respect of her coach Dustan Holmdahl. “She brings a lot of hard work and dedication. She’s here every practice and she’s always got a positive attitude.” “She’s very dedicated,” said Matthew Angel, a sophomore teammate, “She shows up to more practices than I do.”

Laly is designated as a defensive guard, but isn’t on first string. That means she’s not always in the game and she’s not always at the team meetings, either.

“All the guys have their own thing and they are just very different compared to me,” Laly said. “I am like an outcast between them because they have their own locker room and they have team meetings and I’m not there.”

Laly is proud of pursuing a sport she enjoys, but said some think she’s just doing it for attention. “I think it’s cool, but a lot of people would think another way because a lot of people already think of me as being an attention-seeking person,” she said, “I think it’s cool, but not a lot of other people do.” One life lesson she will take from this experience is that people are capable of doing anything “if they put their mind to it.”   Laly says she likes being on the football team because she is playing a sport she enjoys “not being told by other people.”

While Laly isn’t the first girl Holmdahl has coached, at the end of games other schools are sometimes surprised that there is a girl on the team.  

That shouldn’t stop others from joining, if they like. Coach Holmdahl said he’d be glad to have them. “If they’re as dedicated as Laly is? Always! I don’t have a problem with anybody playing. If they want to play, I’d love to have them out there.”  Though the coach is open to welcoming everyone, Laly only suggests that girls join if “they are brave enough to get hit by 200 pounder guys.”

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