December 8, 2021


Only The Finest Women

These young women look to inspire girls as football kickers

There’s not a lot different about Shaina Clorfeine, other than the vivid environmentally friendly cleats.

Otherwise, the kicker blends in, standing on the sidelines upcoming to her La Canada Large football teammates. She might be a little more compact. A spool of hair flows from the again of her helmet. But future to other gamers, whose ft are encased in muted greys and blacks, her neon kicks are what stand out.

Then she requires off her headgear, generating it clear that she is the only girl on this football workforce, and she all of a sudden stands out for a distinct rationale.

“Last 7 days versus Franklin, I took off my helmet, and then a team of boys from the other group … came up to me and they were like, ‘Do you perform soccer?’ Clorfeine reported. “I was like, ‘Yeah,’ and they had been like, ‘What do you do,’ and I was like, ‘I kick.’ They were being like, ‘Yo, mad regard.’”

There is a developing amount of feminine large school kickers in Southern California, each and every with their personal taking-off-their-helmet tales. Jordan Galvin and Aiyana DeGiacomo of Westminster can notify you about the seems to be of shock they’ve been given from other groups through heat-ups. Leilani Armenta of Ventura St. Bonaventure can convey to you about the remarks she’s heard from the stands as she strains up for an excess-level test.

Minor by tiny, an rising amount of ladies in the spot are breaking as a result of invisible obstacles of probably the most typically male-dominated sport. In assuming important roles kicking for their school’s football staff, they’re blazing trails for the young women of all ages driving them. As they acquire a lot more and more prospects, probably they’ll adjust notion sufficient that a single working day, the only eye-popping issue about Clorfeine trotting out onto La Canada’s discipline will be her brilliant green cleats.

“Some folks have brought up to me that us accomplishing this, ladies in center college or freshman women can see us and they can change heritage,” DeGiacomo reported.


In the 2014-15 tutorial calendar year, there ended up 236 women who participated in 11-participant higher university soccer in California. That number elevated steadily each individual year to 593 in 2018-19, the most new 12 months info is offered.

The advancement is obvious in the Southern California football landscape. In addition to Clorfeine, Armenta, Galvin and DeGiacomo, Kayla Ibrahim, Morgan Zimmerman and Victoria Kenworthy rotate kicking responsibilities for Arcadia, and senior Jaemi Toledo is a great 11 for 11 on PATs for Oxnard.

The path for all qualified prospects from a track record in soccer, with a motivation for a new working experience. Realizing she wouldn’t be equipped to participate in soccer at St. Bonaventure whilst participating in calendar year-round club with True So Cal, Armenta desired to optimize her time in substantial college by taking part in a new sport. Galvin and DeGiacomo — longtime stars on Westminster’s soccer group — experienced comparable factors, seeking to make the most of their senior year following a year missing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rapidly, they located soccer to be a new ecosystem completely. Not only was conditioning a lot more arduous, all understood a unique mentality was demanded to phase on a football area.

“With soccer, you can go in and you can skip [a kick], and you can get it on the future a person,” Galvin explained. “But with soccer, everything’s in the next — you cannot redo it.”

There was a newfound force. And not the physical weight of pads.

“I absolutely consider I had to get paid regard as a kicker,” Armenta claimed. “Kicker’s one of the hardest positions on the industry, simply because you get strain each individual time you do a thing.”

Leilani Armenta steps into a kick for St. Bonaventure.

Leilani Armenta ways into a kick for St. Bonaventure.

(Angel Serrano)

There was yet another plainly evident purpose she felt she had to get paid that regard.

“Being a feminine — bodily, it’s rough, but mentally, it’s a entire various recreation when you’re out there,” Armenta said. “A bunch of guys, a bunch of male coaches — it’s certainly a various psychological condition you have to be in to play on the field as a woman.”


At this point in her significant university job, Armenta has proved she can do just about every little thing. She can execute kickoffs and industry ambitions, breaking the county report for PATs in a sport (10) for a woman previously this period.

With that, she feels, she’s ultimately earned her spot on the roster. It took many years of adjustment as the first woman player in St. Bonaventure’s background to get to that stage.

“You have to be more robust, you have to be able to do the job, and you just cannot crack down effortlessly since there is going to be responses from left and suitable,” she said.

She’s heard the chirping, opinions questioning her ability to kick significantly more than enough. Her mother and father have overheard comments from the stands.

“It does stick with me,” Armenta explained of the reviews, “but for me, I have tested so significantly on the area. It’s not like the human being declaring it is kicking the ball. It is not like a male is kicking the ball. I’m carrying out it for myself.”

It hasn’t all been sideways glances and snide remarks, although. Armenta explained unique teams coach Thomas Merickel is “kind of the rationale why [she thrives],” as her guidance procedure, and her group has her again wholeheartedly.

Clorfeine, meanwhile, said she’s normally felt welcome into La Canada’s team dynamic. She’s beautifully at ease hanging out in the locker place with the boys, cracking her truthful share of jokes, head mentor Dave Avramovich stated.

La Canada kicker Shaina Clorfeine attempts a kick during practice.

La Canada kicker Shaina Clorfeine attempts a kick for the duration of observe.

(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

“She’s ordinarily following to me in the locker place, and when I acquire down my girdle or my pants, I say, ‘Shaina, seem absent,’” La Canada kicker Royce Xiao explained with a chuckle.


The environments of superior faculty soccer teams are all various. Clorfeine, Armenta, Galvin and DeGiacomo have each and every had special experiences. Yet all are unequivocally glad they’ve seized the option to kick.

Alongside the way, they’re inspiring distinct generations. Avramovich reported his youthful daughters are properly aware of Clorfeine’s achievements, when Armenta has experienced moms and “hardcore football dads” occur up to her to specific their delight in her success.

“I consider it’s seriously breaking limitations, not only in the group but specifically for St. Bonaventure,” Armenta stated.

Galvin and DeGiacomo just desired to have some pleasurable their senior 12 months, in no way anticipating the hoopla they’d acquire for kicking on the football team. But just after noting improved interest towards Westminster’s plan and bordering districts, they’ve recognized their worth.

“Girls who want to kick but who are also frightened to say something, they should really go kick,” Galvin said. “It’s a truly good expertise. No one really should miss out for the reason that of worry.”

Clorfeine, meanwhile, reported establishing herself on a crew of boys gave her the assurance to run for and gain the position of La Canada’s Connected Scholar Entire body secretary. In August, she wrote an opinion piece for La Canada’s impartial scholar newspaper, The Outspoken Oppa, on her advice to girls trying out for their high faculty soccer teams.

“I hope men and women see what an astounding story I have experienced,” Clorfeine explained, “and other girls have had.”

Shaina Clorfeine poses for a photo in the end zone of the La Canada practice field.

Shaina Clorfeine stated earning a place on the La Canada football crew aided her gain assurance to operate for college student overall body secretary.

(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Moments)