History teacher Bill Schrier coached Nystrom in soccer last year and noticed how powerful her kick was. He talked to football coach Golden Anderson, who watched two of Nystrom’s soccer games and then asked her to be the kicker for the boys’ football team.
“I feel like everybody was hesitant at first because a girl playing football hasn’t happened in a long time, and the only girl to play before me was on JV,” Nystrom says. “But, I mean, I was hesitant at first too.”
Nystrom notes that she is far more used to it now and that all of her coaches and teammates have been very supportive and helpful. She joined the football team during the spring of her junior year and has been training with them ever since.
“Pick any adjective, and that could probably describe how it feels to be the only girl on the football team: intimidating, exciting, fun, nerve-wracking,” Nystrom says. “It’s nerve-wracking because there’s always the possibility that, by some slim chance, I could get hit. But all of the tacklers and all of the guards are all shoving to keep the guys off of me. After I score, all the guys run up and hug me or hit me on the helmet.”
The Sept. 13 football game against Salinas High School was Nystrom’s first. She made all three of her extra point attempts.
“It was surreal when the announcer said my name and that I was the first female in Carmel High history to ever kick a PAT [point after touchdown],” Nystrom says. “I just thought, that’s terrifying…I just changed Carmel history. It doesn’t seem real. It’s like a little bubble of a world.”