Gridiron Girl: Karly Johnson

Northern Star Johnson

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When Duluth East junior Karly Johnson traded in her soccer cleats for a football helmet, it caught a few people off guard.

“My first time walking on the field, a lot of people couldn’t believe I was here for football,” said Johnson.

Believe it. The young Greyhound kicker strapping on pads is a desire she’s had most of her life.

“My parents always told me to follow my dreams and stuff. So I thought now’s the perfect time to just do it and to just follow what I’ve always wanted to do,” Johnson said.

It’s a dream Johnson is giving everything she’s got to.

“Karly’s done a great job. She comes, she’s got a great disposition and she works hard in practice,” said Duluth East football coach Joe Hietala.

The junior is one of the upperclassman on the team, but on the field she’s still working to get her football leg under her.

“She’s real new to football so she’s pretty steep learning curve for her,” said coach Hietala.

But that isn’t stopping her from being an exciting player to watch.

“She’s willing to stick her nose in there. She’s willing to try and she’s fun to watch,” coach Hietala said.

Part of Johnson’s drive and desire comes from the boy’s she lines up against.

“My teammates are so inspirational, they come out every single day and work their butts off. They’re always doing their best and it makes me want to do better,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s right foot is doing more than kicking field goals, it’s breaking down barriers.

“Any girl can get outside their comfort zone and do something that most girls don’t do. It’s hard at first but you’re going to meet amazing people along the way to help you out,” said Johnson.

Johnson helping to pave the path for more girls to strap on the pads, makes her a gridirion girl.

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