By Kate Tobiasson, Contributing Writer
Westborough – While the rest of America is deterring kids from playing football and worrying about sports injuries, one freshman from Westborough is ready to break down barriers just by following her passion.
Abby Thompson began playing football in elementary school, under the coaching of Dino Liberti.
“I’ve always watched football with my dad on the weekends. When I was in third grade, I told my parents that I wanted to play. My dad was hesitant, but my parents agreed to let me play on the Westborough Youth Football team,” Abby said.
From early on, Thompson has always enjoyed the intensity of the sport, as well as the team mentality.
“My parents encouraged me to just do what made me happy from a very young age,” she noted. “They helped me feel comfortable doing what I wanted to do, both at recess or after school. When I was in third grade, I didn’t worry that I was going to be the only girl. I just wanted to have fun! My parents helped me to see that my happiness was more important than anything else.”
In her seventh football season, Thompson is now a lineman for the Westborough High School freshman team.
“The boys on my team have been very welcoming,” she said. “I always played football with the boys out at recess, so they weren’t surprised to see me. When we play against kids in other towns, some of the other kids were more surprised. When other people start to question me, my teammates truly support me.”
Thompson confessed that it isn’t always easy playing on the team.
“It is different being a girl playing a male-dominated sport; it is hard for some people to understand. Sometimes, when I tell people that I play football, they ask if I’m on a girls’ team or if I play flag football. I have to explain that I just play with the boys.”
Thompson also plays for a club softball team during the fall, and hopes to continue to play football for years to come. She knows that she is a lifelong athlete, but isn’t committed to any long-term plan.