We recently had the chance to talk with Samantha Gordon, a 10-year old youth football player who received national attention this past fall after tearing up football fields in the Salt Lake City area.
Samantha, 9 years old at the time, ran for 1,911 yards (8.2 yards per carry) and 35 touchdowns on 232 carries in her first season of playing football. Playing against all boy teams, Gordon played on both sides of the ball and, in addition to her impressive rushing stats, recorded 65 tackles. So when not running past opposing players, she was driving them into the ground.
Perhaps the most impressive part about Gordon's extraordinary season is that her true passion lies with the sport of soccer.
Due to her busy school and practice schedule, the interview below was conducted via e-mail:
All-Out Blitz: How long have you been playing football, and what was it that drew your interest in playing?
SG: I've been playing football since I was six. At first I would play touch football during school recesses. Then last year I decided to play tackle football. I wanted to play tackle football after watching my brother, who is three years older than me. After one of his practices, his coach said I should try playing.
AOB: You play both sides of the ball, but do you enjoy one more than the other? What do you like most about that position?
SG: I like defense more because I like to hit and tackle. I also like it better because I don't feel like all the pressure is on me to stop the runner. On offense, I felt a lot of pressure that if I didn't score, our team wouldn't win.
AOB: Do you ever get nervous going up against the boys that are much bigger than you, or do you simply approach it as a challenge?
SG: I don't get nervous going up against boy that are bigger than me because I'm faster than them. The only thing that made me nervous is catching the snap. We did a shot gun formation and sometimes the snaps would be high or low so I was always worried about catching the snap.
AOB: I know soccer is your first love, but do you have any plans to continue playing football too?
SG: I just looked at my highlight video again today and I really miss playing. I'd like to play today! But I was told by my soccer coaches that they have tryouts for ODP this fall, which is for the youth national soccer teams, and if I want to make the roster I should probably start focusing on soccer. I've thought about playing flag football instead.
AOB: You got to experience what it's like hanging out in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, and were even seen on television sitting next to commissioner Roger Goodell during the game. What was that experience like?
SG: During the Super Bowl I was watching the game because I'm a big niners fan. I was getting upset because they were losing. I really wasn't too interested in all the famous people in our suite, I was interested in the game.
But before the game I got to go to a VIP tailgate with live alligators, fortune tellers, lots of food, and lots of famous football players. We even got to go to a concert. That was a lot of fun. The night before the Super Bowl I got to do a skit on the NFL Honors Award Show with Alec Baldwin and the commissioner. I got to wear a dress from Oscar de la Renta. That was awesome too.
And then the day before that I went to the media center and met a lot of famous people, like Jim Rome, Clay Matthews, Miss America and a bunch of others. I also went to the NFL Experience which had a lot of events like a 40 yard dash, football throw, and tons of memorabilia.
AOB: Better experience and why: Super Bowl or spending a day with Team USA's women's soccer team?
SG: It's a tie. The USA soccer team was awesome because I got to practice with the team, got my own jersey with my name on it, and met the entire team. I really dream of playing for Team USA when I grow up.
I also liked going to the NY Giants vs. Saints game and touring the NFL Headquarters. At the game, we sat in the commissioner's box and ate at the commissioner's club and it had a giant candy buffet, fancy food, and football food like hot dogs and popcorn. The NFL Headquarters would be a really cool place to work. Instead of carpet, it had turf. The tables looked like football fields with lines on them and they had all the Super Bowl rings and memorabilia everywhere.
Going to the niners practice and game was also very fun. I got to meet the team, throw the ball with the players, got my own jersey and an autographed ball. I got to lead the team in a cheer at the end of practice. At the Monday Night game, I got to go on ESPN with Steve Young, Stuart Scott, and Trent Dilfer. Then at halftime they showed my highlights to the entire crowd and introduced me out at mid-field.
AOB: What do you friends at school think of all your recent publicity and success?
SG: A lot of my friends don't know most of the things I've done because they don't watch a lot of the programs I'm on. I get a lot more attention actually from older boys who are my brother's age because they are a more into football by that age than some of the kids my age.
AOB: Do you have any advice for other girls your age that have interest in playing organized football?
SG: My advice is simple: play! I know that a lot of girls I play soccer and run track with are just as strong, aggressive, and fast as me. I think a lot of girls could do just as well if not better than me. I'd love to see some highlights next year of other girls who tried playing football.
AOB: Thank you for your time!
We may not be fortunate enough to witness too much more of Samantha's presence on a football field, but maybe one day we'll see her win some games with the U.S Women's National Team at the World Cup or Olympics.
So don't forget the name Samantha Gordon.
- - - - -
For those that missed it, here's her 2012 highlight video:
You may follow Samantha and her publicist Ariane Sloan on Twitter:
Note: We do not own the above images. No copyright infringement intended.