Meet 8-year-old Callie John, the only girl on her Texas soccer team

Callie John Calvert greeted her parents in the stands during her first Miami ISD football game in early September. (Erin Clark/Globe Staff)

Los Angeles crew

October 30, 2022

MIAMI, Texas — Eight-year-old Callie John Calvert doesn’t feel the need to introduce herself to strangers. She could strike up a grown-up conversation while holding a pickle-flavored snow cone and start courting anything on her mind — gymnastics, geocaching, unicorns.

Callie John has the distinction of being the only girl on an American football team in Miami. Her mother, Erica, was initially hesitant – “Callie John is a girl. Most girls don’t want to play. – but in the first game of the season, Callie John was a crowd favourite, drawing cheers every time she trotted onto the court. Even his mother seemed convinced. “Hit someone!” she shouted from the bleachers, repeatedly.

Football wasn’t initially Callie John’s plan (she also plays basketball and plays basketball), but the day the teacher was handing out the sign-up forms, she remembered that the boy next to she said, “You’re probably not going to play.” ‘ So I turned around and said, ‘Can you put one in my locker?’ “

Tackling is daunting, but Callie John has a trick to mustering her courage. When a rival player approaches, she plays a game with herself: “I think it’s demons trying to eat my unicorn.”

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  • reporters: Julian Benbow, Diti Kohli, Hanna Krueger, Emma Platoff, Annalisa Quinn, Jenna Russell, Mark Shanahan, Lissandra Villa Huerta
  • Photographers: Erin Clark, Pat Greenhouse, Jessica Rinaldi and Craig F. Walker
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