Topeka High footballer breaks down gender barriers


TOPEKA (KSNT) – Talayah Thomas of Topeka High is helping pave the way for girls in soccer.

“I often hear things like ‘Oh, she ain’t strong enough to kick’ and all that other stuff, or like ‘Oh, you’re just a kicker, of course,’ he said. said Talayah.

However, Talayah is anything but weak.

“Watch me on Hudl,” she said. “I’m there.”

She was Topeka High’s starting kicker for three seasons.

“She’s doing her part,” said Carlos Kelly, head coach of Topeka High. “It’s not just a sideways lady watching… it’s a soccer player.”

She grew up playing soccer with her brothers and on her father’s youth football team.

“It was something she wanted to do,” said Tobian Thomas, Talayah’s father. “She would be at all the workouts and she would do a lot of conditioning and sprints and everything. We started to notice, ‘Hey, she’s up there in the front and she’s running with the boys.’ “

Even while playing flag football, his competitive spirit shone. Then, one day out of boredom, Talayah tried to kick.

“I didn’t really want to wait until, like, basketball season,” Talayah said. “My dad mentioned football, then I told my brother about it, and he said, ‘No, you’re not going to go out there and hit.’ He didn’t really want me to kick, actually, so I just showed up to practice and started kicking.

Not only has she become an accurate kicker for the team, but she’s also a leader in the locker room.

“She’s got her opinions and she’s voicing them, and the guys are listening,” Kelly said. “They don’t reject her at all. They respect her voice and her leadership because what she says is the right way to be.

The rest of the team treats her like one of the guys. It’s like playing with more brothers, Talayah said.

“We’re constantly saying, ‘Hey, you can go out there and work hard and do whatever you have to do, and you’re going to get some things in life,'” said Tobian. “So why would we cut it short when it comes to football? More and more parents should give them the opportunity to go out and try. “

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