ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) -- The soccer pitch is where Bayleigh Diaz first honed her kicking skills before deciding to give football a try.
Now, the Buhach Colony senior finds herself in the most pressure-packed position on the football field.
Diaz was recently named the Thunder's starting kicker after converting a couple of extra points in the team's league opening win last Friday.
"When I first wanted to play, I wasn't too worried about being a girl out there," she said. "I just wanted to try my best and hopefully be the best I could for the team."
So far, it has worked out. Head coach Jerry Dietz calls her a welcome addition to the team after breaking through barriers to become the first varsity female football player in program history.
"She shows up with our football team in the morning and lifts weights with us, so she's dedicated working out at 6:25 in the morning," he said. "She also plays soccer. She's on three teams, including travel ball, but she comes out here like all the other guys. So yeah, she's part of the team."
While Diaz is committed to playing football, she still gets her kicks on the pitch, splitting her time between football and soccer.
"It is a lot, I definitely find myself jumping from practice to practice," she said. "But I do find the time in between to relax a little bit to take some self-care time. It is a lot of fun but it's not easy, though not a lot of people can do it."
Diaz admits there was an adjustment period of learning how to kick a football after spending most of her life playing soccer, but her coaches helped make it a smooth transition.
"I had to adjust the angle that I kicked at, which was really strange for about the first week but a lot of the coaches kept encouraging me," she said.
Diaz is not the only female kicker on campus. Addison Sanchez is also enjoying her time kicking field goals for the Thunder JV team.
Diaz and Buhach Colony return to action next week when they take on Golden Valley at home in Atwater.
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