Spirit of Alabama: Northridge kicker breaking barriers
By WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Tatumn Vaught
When most young girls were joining dance classes, Aileen Charles was passing around the pigskin. She started off by playing flag football in elementary school and had the guts to talk to her coach about joining the team once she got to middle school. Once Charles was given the chance to play, the rest was history.
“I played wide receiver and safety, and kicked of course, but then I got to high school and the boys got bigger so I just switched to kicking all the time,” Charles said.
As a girl in a boys’ world, Charles had to overcome some challenges, but after developing a love for the game and her teammates, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s definitely different, but I feel like just cause I’ve been around it for almost six years now, I”m just used to it,” Charles said. “It would be weird not being around them at this point.”
Charles is held to the same standard as her teammates and had to fight for her starting position, but her work ethic proved she was there to compete.
“She really won the job because in practice she went an entire summer in fall camp and she never missed an extra point,” Northridge High School Varisty Football Head Coach Mike Vickery said. “That really won her teammates over. You can’t deny when someone’s outworking you most of the time. Aileen is a really good football player.”
In fact, she’s scored more than 100 points throughout her high school varsity career.
“I’m really thankful for the opportunity and I just like competing in anything I do so being able to compete with the boys like every Friday, I’m forever grateful for it,” Charles said.
Charles’ teammates and coach discussed how much she’s grown since she started playing football at Northridge in just the seventh grade. She’s not only become a better kicker, but a fantastic athlete as well and dominates in every sport that she plays according to her coach and teammates. Charles will be a key asset to any team she joins at the next level.
When Charles graduates in the spring, her goal is to play college soccer.
“She’s such a tough competitor and has been through the wringer in so many different scenarios,” Coach Vickery said. “Whether it be basketball, football, or soccer, so again I think she’s going to be an asset to any program where she goes and we look forward to watching her down the road.”