Suburban team’s placekicker one of the few female football players in Illinois

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MUNDELEIN, Ill. — From the stands, you may never know it, but Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein has someone special on their football field.

For decades, it has been known as one of the best high schools for academics in the state, but lately, all the talk has been about what’s happening on their football field.

For the last four years, Jillian Walsh has been the team’s placekicker and one of the few females playing football in the state.

“I like to have my hair out so people know I’m a girl,” she said.

“When she came to me saying she wanted to try out for the football team, I was like what?!!”, he father Michael Walsh.

Jillian heard the team needed a place kicker so she joined the tryout with all the boys.

“My family was astonished,” she said. “I don’t think they could believe it. None of my brothers even played football.”

A month later, Jillian’s poster was added to the team line up.

“I told her everyone has to earn their spot to play. No exceptions,” Coach Blake Annen said. “She turned out to be one of hardest workers out on the field.”

This year, her kicking record has been nearly perfect and the last kick of the regular season proved the difference in a one point overtime victory.

“I love it when freshman girls come up to me and say they also want to play,” she said. “I say, ‘Go for it!’”


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