In the Golden Flashes' home opener against the Delaware State Hornets, April Goss became just the second woman to ever score a point in an NCAA-sanctioned football game when she kicked an extra point with 4:28 to go in the first half on September 12th (Katie Hnida scored a pair of extra points for New Mexico in 2003). There has been a great deal of media attention surrounding April since then; so much so, that I had a pretty rough time scheduling an interview for over a week.
I was finally able to sit down with her this past week and ask April about the extra point, it's significance, and for her goals and ambitions moving forward. Without further ado, here is the unedited transcript of the interview:
Hustle Belt: Walk us through that moment before, when Coach Haynes called that timeout and called your number.
April Goss: [Coach Haynes] had sent someone before that to let me know that the next kick, the extra point, was mine. So just from there, I was with the guys,; it was actually happening. And I just took some warmup kick and get myself ready as much as I could. I said a prayer and recited some scripture to myself. Once Coach called that timeout and got me out there, Coach Clark talked to the guys and said 'don't let anyone through!' and I went out there.
How has the whirlwind of media attention been since your extra point attempt vs. Delaware State?
It's been a lot, nothing that I've been used to at home. It's calmed down a bit, which is nice. I can catch my breath and take everything in.
You're the second woman to ever score a point in an FBS-sanctioned game. What is it about this kick against Delaware State in particular that's special?
For me, it's been a long time since I've been on the team, and I am so thankful for coach to have the idea in mind of wanting to put me in a game... I had no idea what to expect. I've been really lucky and really blessed to have two head coaches and two coaching staffs to have believed in me. So for having waited four years, I think that made it that more special to me. And of course, the reaction of my teammates and putting me on their shoulders... I didn't want to go back to the sideline.
(photo courtesy of David Dermer from Kent State Athletics.)
A lot of people could shrug off your effort as "just an extra point," much like Dr. Jen Welter becoming the first woman to coach in the NFL was "just an internship." What do you think has to happen for women in sport to be more represented in football with the guys?
I feel like that kinda comes with it; when you're the first or second person to do something, and it's not something that's normal or in this case, something that hasn't been done before, you're gonna get a lot of criticism. A lot of people that are going to doubt it and find some reasons to speculate. But I know the thing is, when it comes to that kick, the world saw that kick. Nobody outside of the team or the people who come out to see the every day, they don't see the four years and I've put in all of the hard work just to earn some sort of shot. It's just going to come with time, more than anything... Just the fact that more women are stepping up and wanting to go after what they want. It's one of things no matter what the thing or goal is, you just have to block all that negativity out.
What made you decide to walk on to the Golden Flashes football team?
After playing in high school, I enjoyed it so much that I knew that I didn't want to be done. At that point, I had no idea where I wanted to go to college so that was kind of dreadful in that sense. I had no idea where I wanted to go, but I knew that no matter where I'd go, they would accept me. The thing was with this school that was so funny... I remember looking back and both times I visited Kent State, there was like, a foot of snow on the ground. One time in December, one time in March. Somehow, eventually, I remember there was something in me that wanted to be there. I did fall in love with the campus, and it had great programs, and once I knew for sure that that was where I was going, I ended up texting the football offices and letting them know of my interest in walking on, and on the first day of classes, they messaged me and I went into the offices and filled out the paperwork set up for a tour of the stadium and I was immediately excited.
What has been the toughest adjustment to make since you made the roster? What was your "Welcome to College Football" moment?
I definitely feel like it was our winter workouts. I know they're terrible and super-hard and they test you and everything was impossible, both physically and mentally. That was something I was the most nervous about, you know? Whether to not I would be able to do it, hang in there, every single test and workout. It tested me in every way. But that was the biggest thing, because even the guys were telling me about the year before, where they would wake up at 4 a.m. and throw up before their morning workouts, and then go to workout til about three in the morning and throw up again. That was a little intimidating, but I could do it after that first time.
You've been on the team for about four years now, which means you've probably been in position battles with teammates like Anthony Melchiori and Shane Hynes. How is the environment in camps when all of you are competing for that spot?
It does get competitive, in the sense that they're my competition. But at the same time, we all go to camp, and so we all get closer and hang out with each other. Obviously, when Shane [Hynes, current starting placekicker] came in, I knew that he was going to be my competition and everything, but at the same time, I root for them and I don't get down. Now too, during games, I just think "Okay, what is the best way I can help Shane right now? or Melchi?" and understand my role.
Do you feel like you would have gotten this opportunity like you have here at Kent at another institution, such as a Power 5 school?
I don't know. When I first walked on in 2011, there was a girl named Mo Isom that tried out at LSU and she didn't make it. There were a lot more people trying out there. I don't know. I just feel like that kind of goes into the coaching staff I have here having that belief in me and accepting me.
Have you ever practiced a play besides a field goal, for instance a fake field goal pass or something like that? If so, how did it play out?
I have not... We have a couple plays for the field goal unit, so I know them. I know Shane has been known to practice them. From time to time, we'll be needed, as specialists, to play at quarterback to catch and throw.
Okay, some lighter questions now. What was the clincher? What made you decide to go to Kent State?
You know, people have asked that before, and really, I don't have a specific answer. I remember when I got here, all my friends were saying "oh, the nursing program is really good" and everything. I feel like there was something in me that I wanted to hear, like God had a purpose for me to be here, because He does value me, even if I'm not listening to Him.
What are your future goals and ambitions in your post-graduate life?
I do have a passion for working with athletes, that may be an option, working at the collegiate level. I have also wanted to work with men and women or those that need the help in a counseling job, so that's another option as well. I haven't totally figured it out yet.
Do you see yourself as a role model?
I guess I never really thought of myself as one. But after this past week, meeting a lot of different people, and getting a lot of messages from young girls and parents of young girls and people are saying "you're an inspiration" and backing me up about that. I do hope that people see that this matters and realize that such things are possible.
If there is one thing that you want people to remember about you, or take away from your accomplishment, what would it be?
No one's asked me that. That's a hard question. But I think the biggest thing is that I didn't get to this point alone. There's an amazing group of guys that I'm surrounded with that are my brothers, and support me day in and day out, including the coaching staff here. Ultimately, none of this possible without God, who does awesome things. I am not the biggest, I am not the strongest, and I am not the fastest, but somehow, through all of that, I prevailed. I didn't take "no" for a final answer, and that speaks volumes to God's character, more than mine.
Editor's note: Questions and quotes have been condensed for conciseness.
Thanks kindly to the Kent State Athletic Department, specifically Aaron Chimenti, for allowing us the opportunity to profile April and her accomplishment. Many thanks are also directed to April herself for being a lovely interview subject that was willing to take time out of a busy schedule to participate in (yet another) interview. You can follow her on Twitter at @April_Goss.