The 22-year-old Antoinette “Toni” Harris is the first woman in history to attend college on a full football scholarship. To add to that, she dreams of being the first-ever woman to play in the NFL.
It wasn’t always easy for Toni, though. She had to overcome many obstacles from gender to a fatal illness she was diagnosed with.
Born and raised in Detroit, Toni has always been a football fan, and even though she also enjoyed cheerleading and track-and-field, what she loves the most is football. She watched her cousins play when she was young, and she decided to play football at school. Her high school teammates weren’t really acceptive, but they eventually got closer to her and accepted her. She said that once they did, her teammates were very supportive, and eventually everyone else got on board.
Toni still doubted herself, even after she won homecoming queen in her senior year, and she learned to accept that she’s smalled in size and age when compared to her male teammates. However, she said that at the end of the day, she told herself that she cannot allow living in fear, because you don’t really live if you live in fear.
Toni was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 18, and she lost half of her body weight and went through remission later that year. She was told that she couldn’t move from high school football to college, but she didn’t give up, and she enrolled at Golden West College and played as a free safety.
She played two years of college football and she received dozens of scholarships to play. She made history just recently, as she signed a letter of intent for a four-year college football scholarship at Central Methodist University. Her story caught the attention of many huge companies, and she was featured in a Toyota ad that premiered in their Super Bowl commercial.
Toni plans on becoming a “detective with a background in forensics” after her college and football career, and we wish her all the luck in the world.