At 18-years-old, Whitley Perry is a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from Pleasantview — a town in West Tenn., near Nashville — Perry displays all the attributes that a first-class college would look for in both the sports world and the academic.
Before graduating high school and joining the team at Maryville College, Perry attended Sycamore High School, playing rugby and soccer. It wasn’t until Pleasantview’s first string kicker was injured that a different field caught her attention. On a whim, Perry tried out for the high school team as kicker and made it.
According to Perry, her head football coach at Sycamore was hesitant to have a “girl kicker” on the team.
“The coach there was less than supportive,” Perry said. Perry explained that regularly after practices and games he would ask her if she was ready to quit yet. To which, the current lady scot said, “You’ll quit before I do.”
Coach Rader is a serious man who is serious about his team and their success both on and off the field. During the tryouts, he approached Perry and asked why she was doing it. The boldness that saw her football career last at Sycamore showed through once more, and she never responded to Rader with anything but total confidence in her own ability.
“She has no fear, and that’s a great attribute in a kicker” Rader said. “Football is a physical sport in which many dangers like concussions, severe bruising, broken bones and sprains are ever present. Kickoff is one area of concern for us due to the return aspect of the game.”
The details of Perry’s presence on the team invite many questions to individuals on and off the MC campus. The kicker divulged that she sports a “youth extra small set of pads,” unlike the many XL and XXL’s that are normally seen on the field. Perry also offered that she stands at only a mere 5 feet 6 inches tall; however, when asked if she has any fears of being hit by opposing players, Perry lacked concern.
“I have played rugby and been hit by girls that are three times the size of some of the guys on the team,” Perry said. When asked if any negative feedback had been received from the college football community in regard to Perry’s acceptance onto the team, Radar said, “I wouldn’t pay attention to it if it did exist, my staff and the team stand behind Perry 100%. The win loss record is the main thing.”
In addition to serving as the MC football team’s kicker, Perry attends the college as a full-time student. Perry explained that she is currently torn between a major in writing/ communications and going pre-med. With the former, she aspires to obtain a position as a sportscaster position for ESPN Sports.
When questioned about her parents’ feelings regarding her choice of sports in college, Perry described her parents as nothing but supportive.
“Every time a new girl football player is in the news, my mom calls and tells me how proud she is of me,” Perry said. In short, she rather than he represents a step forward for young girls around the nation who pursue aspirations outside the typical male and female gender parameters.