Introducing :: Mia Decker, the Female Footballer Breaking All the Glass Ceilings
If you haven’t been following high school football lately, you’re missing out on history right now. Mia Decker, a high school senior at Slidell High School, is breaking all the glass ceilings. Just this year, she’s the first female to be selected on the LHSAA Class 5A Academic All-State football team, Who’s Who on the Northshore 2022 All-Area team, awarded SHS Special Teams Most Valuable Player.
Step aside, guys. Football is no longer just for men. While more girls are making their way onto the football field as kickers and referees, Mia has proven there’s not only room for girls on the field: they can dominate, too. Not too long ago, I managed to get Mia’s thoughts on sports, academics, and life in general.
What role has sports played in your life?
Mia: Sports have always been a big part of my life, whether it was sitting at my sister’s gymnastic events or my brother’s soccer/football games, or me being at a soccer game, football game, or track meet. My life almost always revolved around sports growing up. I made most of my friends through sports and it definitely led the direction of my life.
What led you to play football?
Mia: I had many friends supporting me, and the football team needed a kicker. My friend Mason talked to the coach, and I went to try out. To be honest, it was more of a spur-of-the-moment decision to join the team, and I’m glad I jumped right in.
What would you say is the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered as a female football player? How were you able to overcome that obstacle?
Mia: Honestly, the adjustment wasn’t as hard for me but more for the coaches and players. There had to be somewhere for me to change and stay while the guys changed and did their things separately. The coaches shared their bathroom and gave me my own room to change before games. Another big obstacle I faced was rudeness from other teams. While some guys were amazed that I was out there, there were others who were just rude. Luckily I had a good group of teammates who stood up for me.
I know you’re successful both on and off the field. How has athletics made you a better student?
Mia: I am a student-athlete, so the student part has always come first in my life. Being a part of multiple teams, I have learned to organize myself in a way where I can do both without being overwhelmed. My coaches give us plenty of opportunities to study/get help if we need it. Also, I have been able to strengthen my relationships with my teachers because they not only see me performing in the classroom but also on the field.
What’s a piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Mia: I would tell my younger self to run in head first, don’t be so scared of what will come. I would also tell her that change is very much real and that it can happen in the blink of an eye.
I’ve known this phenomenal young woman most of her life, and as much as she is gaining the recognition she deserves, I’m not sure she’s fully realized the path she’s forging for little girls right now.