Who said girls can’t play football?
In 2006, Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska started a flag football team in response to Title IX. Interested in kicking, now-Penn State soccer player Amanda Dotten decided she wanted to play. She soon found that kicking was not part of the flag version of the game.
Still interested in knocking balls through the upright, Dottens’s flag football coach got her a tryout with the men’s team. Her powerful leg impressed coaches Numi Ilalio Jr. and Jason Caldarera and she was able to win the starting job.
As the only female on the team, the kicker fit right in and said her teammates were respectful and fun to play with.
“When you’re a team, you’re all working towards the same thing,” she said. Her teammates had her back, as Ilalio described it, “a couple of times when the opposing team would come after her, my boys would go after them.”
Amanda was a standout high school soccer player, earning two All State honoree awards as well as winning two state championships.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Dotten was such an excellent place kicker that she received All State honors her senior season.
Her senior year, she kicked a crucial 28-yard field goal that was the go ahead score in the state semifinals, recalled Caldarera. The kick would prove to be the difference, leading her team into the state championship.
Dotten’s former high school football coaches describe her as dedicated, a hard worker and a premier athlete.
“Amanda has opened the doors for many other female kickers, not only for our conference, but the state,” said Ilalio.
Since then, her sister Meghan and former teammate Taylor Bomar have kicked for Service High.
“Amanda was a pioneer for female athletes in our school, and will always be recognized as one of our best,” Caldarera said.
The midfielder’s hometown of Anchorage is more than 4000 miles from Penn State. Her parents made the seven-day trip this week and attended Tuesday’s game against Bucknell.
Kathie Dotten couldn’t have been happier to watch her daughter play for the Lions.
“ It’s a piece of heaven, a real treat. I’m glad I got to see her play,” she said.
A senior now, Dotten has enjoyed her time at Penn State.
“ It’s been really nice to be a part of a college town,” Dotten said. “Athletics are well supported here and it’s been really fun having people come to the games. I really feel like a part of the community here.”