Lenoir City girls soccer player kicks her way into a new sport

Sept. 6, 2016: Hailey Abston is the goalie for the Lenior City girls' soccer team and the kicker for the football team.

LENOIR CITY - A girls soccer player at Lenoir City High School is getting her kicks on the soccer and football fields.

Hailey Abston is the goalie as well as the kicker for the football team.

Lenoir City head football coach Jeff Cortez said he noticed Hailey’s athleticism watching his daughter play soccer.

He approached soccer coach Gary Rigatti about having Abston play two sports.

“He came up to me and had a real serious look on his face, and I’m thinking he doesn’t want us to use the field anymore or something?” Rigatti said.

Instead, Cortez asked Abston to kick field goals for his team, and she says the pressure is very similar between the two sports.

“The mindset’s kind of the same, you’re kind of the last person," Abston said. "You’re the only one kicking. You’re the only one saving the ball, and it’s kind of up to you. It’s a lot of pressure.”

Playing for both teams this fall is keeping her busy.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, she practices with both the soccer and football teams.

Abston has soccer games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and football games on Fridays.

While she may have a busy schedule, Abston wants to help her team win.

“I mean, I’m a girl so I think people may think I can’t do everything guys can, but they can," Abston said. "I have nothing to prove. I’m just here for the team."

For now, Cortez wants his new kicker to gain confidence and consistency in her new sport.

“When she runs out on the field, my hope is that she knows she’s going to put it through the uprights for us,” he said.

Cortez also thinks Abston’s presence on the team is helping him in the future as other soccer players are finding interest in her story.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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