Student Spotlight: Kayla Luis


Courtesy of Kayla Luis

Vibhash “Big Al” Devanathan, Writer

For years, West High Football has been male-dominated. However, this didn’t stop Kayla Luis from overcoming gender boundaries to play on the team as its backup kicker.  


Q: How’d you get interested in football? How long have you loved the sport?
A: I played soccer since I was really young and wanted to try something else. I wanted to find a sport that was kinda similar yet different. So..I decided that being a kicker for the football team might be fun. I haven’t played the sport for that long and I’m very new to everything. I only started kicking in January. My mom would always drive me to the park after school so that I could practice. My dad would too. Overall, I’m new to the sport but I’m excited to learn more about it and improve my kicking as time goes by. 


Q: Did the fact that there was no girls’ football team discourage you from trying out?

A: When I started to practice kicking the football I knew that there was no girls team at West. I always knew that if I really wanted to do this I’ll be with the guys. 


Q: What difficulties did you face in getting to where you are?
A: Obviously it wasn’t easy for me to get where I am today. It took a lot of work. I would practice as much as I could (including most of spring break). Also it’s very intimidating being the only girl, but the guys are really supportive and always have my back. I also had a lot of doubt about if I should even do this. I was really on the fence about this entire idea, but then I thought about it. Why stop now when I’ve been trying so hard. So I decided to give it a shot. I asked the coach for a tryout and that’s how it started. 


Q: Do you plan to continue football next year and into college if possible?

A: I’m still unsure if I will play next year or even in college. I want to see how this year goes before I think about the future. I want to enjoy now and see what the future holds when it comes. 


Q: How did the team react to having a girl on something labeled on the school website as “Boys Football”?
A: I think most of the guys were surprised at first. I mean who wouldn’t be. I was a girl trying to be on a team that consisted of all guys. I was intimidated at first but the guys were always so nice and supportive to me and always making me feel like a part of the team. I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction from them. They’re all such amazing people and I’m so grateful that I can call them my teammates and I know that I can trust them to always have my back. 


Q: If a girls’ football team was to be set up, would you want to switch from your current position on the Boys’ Football team to join it? What position would you like to play?
A: Honestly I have no idea what I would do. I would probably want to remain a kicker for the guys football team, but if the girls team needed people I might consider joining. 


Q: Any thoughts of going pro?

A: Like I said earlier I don’t know where this is going to lead me to in the future, but I’m not sure going pro is what I want. I’m still learning and improving and going pro is not in my mindset. I have other things I want to do like go to college and make memories. 


Q: Finally, what would you like to tell other females who are interested in pursuing football? 

A: For the other girls wanting to play football I’ll tell them to go for it. I mean if you really want to do It there’s nothing that can stop you. Just work hard and try your best. It might not be the easiest thing to do but believe you can and know that the reward at the end is worth it. Just do your best and you’ll be amazing.