Homecoming
Ta'Mya Bulger (WIAT-TV)

A Clanton, Ala., teen is breaking gender norms by being crowned homecoming queen at her middle school during the halftime homecoming ceremony, then switching out her tiara for a helmet to go play football with the rest of her team.

According to Yahoo, eighth-grader Ta’Mya Bulger made history at Clanton Middle School when she became its first African American student to win the homecoming title. What’s more, she did this while also being the school’s only female football player on the CMS Tigers, playing wideout as well as a defensive back.

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“As a mom, it was incredible,” said Tamera Hinton, Bulger’s mom. “She’s humble, she’s not the most ‘status quo’ popular girl, but she’s kind, she’s on the honor roll, and she’s probably the most athletic in the school. It was nice that she got this recognition.”

Ta’Maya, 13, is a three-sport athlete, also playing girls basketball and soccer, and has plans to maybe even join the track team this spring.

Hinton explains that her ambitious daughter initially became interested in playing football after her younger brother got involved in the sport. When she was in fifth grade she had joined a team herself. By the time Bulger was in the seventh-grade she had been playing football for three years, but her mother didn’t allow her to try out for the school’s team.

“I wasn’t sure she was ready, especially to play with the boys at this age,” Hinton explained, noting that this year, she finally relented.

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“I loved it,” first-year head coach Thomas Hughes told Birmingham local station WIAT. “I told her when she asked me if she could play – absolutely, I told her [I’d] loved to have her come out and see what she had.”

Ta’Maya plans to continue playing football through high school and then switch over to soccer in college, which her mom says is her “number one sport.”