She’s only nine-years-old, but Nasaya Jackson has so much heart.
That’s because on a field full of boys, she’s passionate about playing football – all in memory of her beloved father.
Little Nasaya is the only girl playing on the Leesburg Yellow Jackets Pop Warner football team.
“It’s fun. I have a lot of friends on the football team,” smiles Nasaya.
Her Father Died In A Motorcyle Accident
Nasaya proudly wears her No. 21 jersey as she toughs it out on the field. But for Nasaya, it’s a way she can both remember and honor her late father.
The youngster’s dad sadly died last April following a motorcycle accident. But the father always encouraged his daughter to go for what she wanted and taught her to play football.
“After her dad passed away, she was like ‘Mom, I really don’t want to play,’ and I was like ‘Nasaya, you have to keep going and push yourself because’ I said ‘that’s what your dad would want you to do,’” Nasaya’s mom Melissa Gerard told told FOX 35.
So the brave little girl put back on her helmet and is now an asset to her team. However her bravery is not without its hardships.9-Year-Old Baller Still Honors Her Late Father’s Memory Despite Emotional Challenges
“We still have our moments where we cry together.”
She Scored The Winning Touchdown
Nasaya’s mom says her daughter is taking football even more seriously since her father’s death and is now “one of the boys.”
“Her playing changed. She started playing a lot…like one of the boys,” laughs Gerard. Last year, Nasaya scored a game-winning touchdown after ignoring strict instructions from her coach.
“When the coach said to go to the left side, I went to the right side and made a touchdown because I was following my dad,” she says.
Meanwhile Nasaya’s mom believes her daughter’s father watches over her every time she’s on the field.
“I know he’s there watching. Practices and especially more of the games and she’s doing the runs and playing, I get very emotional because if he was here, it’d be different. That’s who she really plays for,” Gerard says wistfully.