SALEM, OR (KPTV) - Breaking down barriers with her leg, Kyla Gordon's parents told her it would be a long journey and they were right.
Now, West Salem senior is the starting kicker on the varsity squad for the Titans.
She has the leg and a pony tail.
“I really like their reactions. When they see me after the game, there are like, 'whoa, that's a girl. I never even knew',” Gordon said.
West Salem's Kyla Gordon thought she'd get her kicks under the Friday Night Lights in another way.
“I was ready to be a cheerleader. I had the pom-poms, I liked the bows,” she said.
Soon she went from bows to boots after taking football for a kick in the eighth grade.
“I was struggling a lot in terms of mental health, so when I went out, there was days when I definitely wanted to quit,” she said.
The Titan senior is very much just one of the guys.
“They are a little cautious about like what to say, and I think it's really funny. They will start to say something then turn and look at me, oh, there's Kyla. As far as everything else goes, I feel like part of the team just like everyone else does,” Gordon said.
The lifelong soccer player chose to ditch the pitch this fall and go from futbol to football full-time as the starting gig was wide open for the taking.
“I don't want to be representing feminism or anything, I just want the opportunity to do something that I love,” she said.
The 17-year-old really improved her love of the game since joining forces with a Oregon State Beaver legend.
“He said things that my dad said but in a different way and it started to click,” she said.
Former All-American Alexis Serna was the Lou Groza Award winner, honored as the best kicker in the country after his sophomore at Oregon State in 2005.
After a couple of seasons in the Canadian football league, Serna returned to the Beaver state to coach up some kid kickers.
“She was one of the only kickers that really kept reaching out saying, ‘hey, can you come and kick with me?’ So, she found value from what I was coaching I guess so we kept running with it,” Serna said.
A 33-year-old married father of two young boys, Serna, is starting a new job back at OSU as director of beyond football, a program that helps prepare athletes for life.
“To be back at the university, I came up from southern California, Corvallis is my second home so it does feel like I am going home,” Serna said.
What's beyond senior season for Kyla?
“I’d love to keep going. It would be such an opportunity,” she said,
“I think she could hit at a division three school like that, they are looking for someone who can hit it from 45-in consistently and I definitely think she can do that,” Serna added.
Just for kicks, Kyla also refs youth soccer and plans to pursue a career in medicine.
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