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“Girls Can Play Sports Just as Well as Boys”—13-Year-Old From Louisiana Breaks Barriers by Becoming the First Female Football Player at Her Elementary School

Published 09/27/2023, 12:46 PM EDT

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Jade Meche, a young eighth-grader at Leonville Elementary, etched her name in the history of football with a groundbreaking move. While her batchmates considered cheerleading, Jade yearned to be on the field, tackling challenges head-on. For the young enthusiast, football had always been more than just a sport. Her journey to breaking through the gender barrier was not without its hurdles, but she kept going. 

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Jade proved her interest with boundless dedication as she continued to depict an unwavering commitment to the game. With her consistent determination and practice sessions, she aimed to triumph over an unprecedented goal. Her depiction of bravery and spirit serves as a clear testament to football’s changing landscape. Making a decision that was nothing short of audacious, Jade eventually proved her worth with an epic success. 

Breaking Barriers: Jade’s Inspiring Journey


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Jade’s passion for playing the ball has burned within her since she was a little girl. She made the decision to try out for football this year, and her years of hard work paid off when she made the team. Becoming the first female student to play football at the school, Jade showcased how girls can excel on the gridiron too, like the boys. Expressing her opinions on the gameplay, Jade narrated the time and energy she gave to the field. 

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With a rightful place on her school’s football team, Jade expressed the courteous approach she receives on the field. She shared her acknowledgment, stating, “I still get treated the same as the other boys.” Her football coach, Blake Davis, spoke highly of Jade’s toughness during the matches. He expressed the young player’s unique ability to command respect from her peers, elaborating, “She says something, they listen.” 


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A family of football enthusiasts


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Football ran deep in Jade’s family, with her love for the sport ignited at the tender age of three. She had even developed a strong admiration for the New Orleans football team. Their former star quarterback, Drew Brees, was an inspiration to Jade, who was one of her favorites. Joining the team, she exhibited other remarkable skills that drew her coach’s attention. Highlighting Jade’s leadership qualities, Davis added to her praise, sharing, “If she tells them to be quiet, they are quiet.”

While playing for her school team, Jade chose to wear the ’10’ numbered jersey, which had a hidden story behind it. Reportedly, her stepfather, CJ Dekerlegand, used to wear the same number in his days, 15 years ago. Jade expressed her gratitude, saying, “It was all about following in his footsteps.”  Standing as one of only three female student-athletes playing football in the Parish area, Jade Meche appreciated her efforts, remarking, “I just boost myself with confidence.”

Jade aims to inspire other girls to pursue their passions, regardless of traditionally held societal expectations. Her future ventures include playing for Beau Chene High School after middle school, with hopes of growing further in the sport. Blazing a trail for others to follow, Jade’s interest in football solidifies how talent knows no gender.


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Written by:

Sanchari Bhaduri


One take at a time

Sanchari Bhaduri is a fresh Sports Viral Moments writer at EssentiallySports. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from IGNOU, she embarked on her content creation career in 2015 with freelance projects. Her previous role involved her serving as a Content Manager for Reddit.
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Edited by:

Arnima Shukla