Topeka, Kansas, April 18, 2007 ----- Recruited by the Kansas Koyotes in the American Professional Football League (APFL) for her dead-on kicking accuracy, Abby Vestal just happens to be the first full-time woman player on a men’s APFL professional football team and may be the first woman to play on a men’s professional football team. Other women have played as amateurs on men’s college teams, semi-pro teams and on professional women’s football teams. A few have even gone into professional men’s games as publicity stunts. While research is still going on, it appears that Vestal may be the first woman to ever sign to a men’s professional football team. Under the direction of Head Coach Jim Green, she will be the indoor football Koyotes’ PAT and Field Goal kicker in the sports’ fast-as-lighting game.
Kansas fans will get to see history in the making at the Koyotes’ home opener at 7:05pm on April 21st at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. But come early, the media buzz on Vestal and the Koyotes’ first game with the tough Iowa Blackhawks promises to be one of the best games of the season. Add in all the family fun and games that spill off the field and into the stands during each contest and it makes the Kansas Koyotes the best entertainment value in town.
Ralph Adams, owner of the Koyotes is excited to have Vestal join the club. “She says she is passionate about football. The Koyotes are happy to make her passion come true. What a great person and addition to our team.”
A star soccer player who also played on the boy’s football team, Vestal is an 18 year old senior who will graduate from Lawrence High School in May 2007 in Lawrence, Kansas. Making her high school football team was no publicity stunt. She had to earn her position on the most storied football program in the state. The LHS Lions have won more state championships than any other school in Kansas and lead the nation in undefeated seasons with 31. Vestal joined the boy’s football team as a high school junior at the invitation of Lion’s Coach Dirk Wedd, when the team lost its regular kicker and he searched the soccer fields for a replacement. “Through her hard work, both in the weight room and on the field, she has gained the respect and admiration of her teammates. Abby has been a huge plus to our program,” states Coach Wedd. Her LHS stats include 34 for 37 PAT’s and 4 field goals-- the longest was 38 yards. She also kicked off for the Lions making a deal with Coach Wedd that she would run to the side after kickoffs to avoid possible injury.
Vestal has signed a soccer scholarship for 2007 with Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. Lawrence High School Girl’s Soccer Coach Matt Anderson says, “With her overall leadership, Abby has been the face of our program for the past two years. She has been so valuable to our entire soccer program.” The NJCAA allows athletes to play professional sports in one sport if the athlete does not play professionally in their scholarship sport. Vestal is the daughter of Dale and Amy Vestal of Lawrence.
Chuck Woodling, senior sports writer for the Lawrence Journal-World calls Vestal “the best female kicker I’ve ever seen and I saw Katie Hnida ..a few years ago..on Colorado University’s roster.”
“Abby is a great addition to the Koyotes. She brings reliability and confidence to our kicking game, something our team has been missing for 4 years. This is also historic for the APFL. She will be the first female to take the field in uniform ever since the leagues’ birth,” comments Koyotes’ Head Coach Green.
Is Coach Green worried about how dangerous it will be for Vestal? “We worry about the safety of all our players, and with Abby being a Koyote, the Pack always takes care of their own.”
Date KANSAS KOYOTES Time
April 21, 2007 Iowa Blackhawks 7:05 PM
April 28, 2007 Open
May 5, 2007 Springfield WolfPack 7:05 PM
May 12, 2007 at Missouri Minutemen 7:05 PM
May 19, 2007 at Iowa Blackhawks 7:05 PM
May 26, 2007 Missouri Minutemen 7:05 PM
June 2, 2007 at Springfield WolfPack 7:05 PM
June 9, 2007 Open 7:05 PM
June 16, 2007 Iowa Blackhawks 7:05 PM
June 23, 2007 at Conroe Storm 7:05 PM
June 30, 2007 Ft. Worth Regulators 7:05 PM
July 7, 2007 Conroe Storm 7:05 PM
July 14, 2007 APFL Playoff Weekend TBA
July 21, 2007 APFL Championship Game TBA
All schedules and times are subject to change
Kansas Koyotes’ home games at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas
Season tickets are still available. Single game tickets range from $5 for kids up to $45 for VIP adults.
For more information on the Koyotes’ sponsorships, schedule and for season ticket information call the Kansas Koyotes at 785-228-0729 or login at www.koyotefootball.com For single game tickets call the Kansas Expocentre at 785-297-1000.