A League of Her Own - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

A League of Her Own

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The Browns are an eighth grade team in the Missoula Youth Football League and one of their leaders is their secret weapon number twenty two.

"Two weeks ago we were playing the Cowboys, another eighth grade team, and after the game when we were shaking hands I got to the end of the line and was talking with their coach and he was telling me he didn't realize we had a girl on the team.  We played the entire football game and he didn't realize we had a female on the team until she took her helmet off," said Browns Head Coach Sean Kittel.

 

That's right, the Browns linebacker, fullback, and backup quarterback is a girl.  Her name is Julia and she loves football.

 

"Hitting people and scoring and I just love the team and how we are like a family" said Julia Riekena.

 

Julia says she learned how to play football from playing with her older brothers in the backyard.  And when she first came out to play tackle football she was a little nervous, but not anymore.

"She's intense is I think one word that symbolizes her in a nutshell," said Kittel.

"She's tough, I would say she's definitely tougher than a lot of people we play football with.  Just to be out here playing football instead of volleyball or basketball is an indication that she's a lot tougher," said teammate Jack Montgomery.

Julia is the only girl in the eighth grade league, but her coaches and teammates don't view it that way.

"What I think is unique is you see the guys around here react to the type of player she is and they don't look at her as a girl she is just one of the guys," said Kittel.

"I think that they could care less because once I put that helmet on it's like I'm one of the guys playing," said Riekena.

Although the guys did get on her a little bit that one time…

"One year I was quarterback and I kind of had a high pitched voice and when I would say the cadence and everything they would come to school and say it in a high pitched voice," said Riekena.

It took some guts for Julia to come out and play football, but she did it because she loves the sport, little did she know she would become an influence for other girls thinking of playing.

"Mothers have been bringing their daughters to the game asking if they could meet Julia after the game, which I think is good because it is showing the little girls that if you wants to play football play football," said Julia's Dad Kevin Riekena.

 "Because girls can really do anything guys can do you just have to go out and go for it, because they might say you can't but if you just set your mind to it you can play," said Riekena.

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