DONNA, Texas (ValleyCentral) — One student in Donna is paving the way for more girls on the football field.

Dayanara Zavala, 16, hopes by accomplishing her dream of playing football, others can be inspired. 

The 16-year-old said she has a passion for football and the field called out to her.

“Football is everything to me and I can say without it, I would probably be not so motivated. It’s my motivation,” said Zavala.

When she started at Donna Early College High School (DECHS) she said sports were not part of the curriculum.

“Here they don’t have extra sports and stuff like here it’s all college classes,” said Zavala. 

Zavala expressed her passion for the game and told her school she wanted to play football. Donna Early College School Principal, Jessica Carrizales said the school got in touch with Donna High School (DHS) for Zavala to play for their freshmen team while attending classes at (DECS), making her the first female to play on DHS’s Freshman Football team.

“All we did was make sure we made it possible for her if she needed to be released early for a game or for practice, we made sure the staff knew,” said Carrizales. 

Zavala plays middle linebacker.

To keep up with practices she walks a half-mile to and from both schools She adds her dad has been supportive of her goals.

“He just said, `I’m not going to stop you from doing anything you want to do,;” said Zavala. “My stepmom and [dad] are both always supporting me every game like they never missed a game.”

When she steps on the field for game day, Zavala gets into a game mindset.

“I don’t get nervous thinking ‘oh they are bigger, they are stronger’ they don’t intimidate me.”

Zavala looks forward to continuing playing football throughout high school and hopes that by playing, more girls will want to do the same.