ELAC’s first female football player sets the bar

Antoinette “Toni” Harris hopes to be the first female NFL player. Photo courtesy of DeeDee Jackson

By Vincent Austin (J-101 Staff Writer) 

Football player Antoinette “Toni” Harris is the first female to play for East Los Angeles College’s football team.

Harris began playing the sport at four years old, in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. She kept at it for the past 17 years and now plays defense for the Huskies.

“I like being on defense more. Offense sells tickets, but defense wins games. I want to be a part of winning games,” Harris said.

She looks up to Kameron Chancellor, who plays safety for the Seattle Seahawks and is the reason she wears number 31.

Harris’s goal is to continue at a four-year university and go on to be the first female NFL player. “Which will happen,” said Harris.

As a female football player, she has dealt with both physical and mental challenges on and off the field.

Harris has had ovarian cancer, which  weakened her body, causing her to lose weight. She pushed through, however, to continue to play the sport she loves.

Coach Andrew Tree believes that Harris will be fine in the football field. “She works her tail off,” Tree said.

Tree is in Harris’s corner and believes that she will be given the opportunity to get in the NFL due to the changes that are happening and her own mental capacity.

“All the opportunities that came her way, she definitely deserved,” Tree said.

Harris understands the challenges she’ll face and most of them are mental.

Knowing that her male competition is a lot faster and stronger, she continues to have the confidence and ability to help her become a better player and face the challenges.

Harris caught an interception this past football season, and is the first female to receive a scholarship at a non-special team position.

She has been granted not one, but three scholarships. Bethany College, Graceland University, and Adams State University made her offers.

Wherever she goes, she hopes to pursue a career as an FBI agent and minor in forensics.

Harris is reaching her goals slowly, continuing to go hard on and off the field.

With her confidence and a great challenge ahead, Harris said she continues to thank the Lord for all that he is doing and has done for her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *