An 11-year-old named Anika has become one of the big stories in the Bismarck, North Dakota Youth Football League by establishing herself as one of the league’s top gunslingers. By the looks of it, she has a hell of a future.
Anika is the quarterback for the Bismark Broncos, who lead the youth league in scoring, and she has the highest two-point conversion rate as well. Not only does Anika have a great arm, but she’s also dangerous on the run. But it’s her dedication that appears to be her greatest asset: Every day after practice, Anika goes home and watches game tape with her dad so that she can improve as a player.
Anike has been playing football for two years and admits that sometimes opposing teams will still make assumptions about her as a football player based on her gender. “I’ll be warming up, and the other teams will be like, ‘Oh there’s a girl on their team!’ And I’m just like, ‘Well, I’ve been here for two years. Get used to it,’” Anika told the Sandhill Express. “Sometimes, I just feel they’re afraid that I’m better than them.”
Fortunately, Anika has the full support of her coach and teammates, who praised her for her talent and desire to always get better. “I don’t know if there’s another kid on the team who works as hard at being the best she can be,” said Kurt Ohnell, the Broncos head coach.
Anika went on to explain that she had wanted to play football for a couple years but was never allowed, until her dad secretly signed her up. “In third grade I asked if I could play tackle football, but my mom said no,” said Anika. “And then I asked again in fourth grade and she said no again, but then my dad just signed me up without telling her.”
While it’s never a good idea to go behind your spouse’s back, this seems to be an exception. Anika has become one of the most dominant quarterbacks in a league that has more than 700 players. As another season unfolds, here’s hoping Anika quietly continues to shut the haters down with a healthy dose of touchdowns.