Go for it. Pursue your dreams.
April Goss did just that and the result is she has a permanent place in college football history.
In front of a Dix Stadium crowd of 15,091 that braved the rain and unseasonably cool temperature of Sept. 12 to watch Kent State host Delaware State, Goss became the second woman to score a point in a major college football game.
In her first career appearance the fifth-year senior’s attempt went end-over-end and inside the right upright to give Kent State a 29-6 lead with 4:30 remaining in the half. Goss, from suburban Pittsburgh, was mobbed by her jubilant teammates and hoisted upon their shoulders.
“It kind of seems like a blur, it really does,” said Goss, whose Golden Flashes host Marshall on Saturday (3:30 pm) as part of the American Sports Network’s college football lineup. “It was pretty amazing not only for my coaches to give me that opportunity because as a walk-on you are never guaranteed to play, or guaranteed anything, but also the way my teammates reacted really made the moment so complete.”
At least as far as her time at Kent State is concerned, it was a moment that has roots extending back to March 27, 2012. That was the day of Goss’ first college practice. It was a day she was working toward since before her senior year at Hopewell High School in Aliquippa, where Goss kicked extra points as a junior and senior.
“Going into my senior year the idea (of playing collegiately) started to sink in,” she said. “Once my senior year was over I was like, ‘I want go after this, I want to continue play.’”
She wanted to do it at the highest level of college football, so she walked on at Kent State. Her first day of spring practice remains vivid.
“It was very nerve-racking, very much so,” recalled Goss, a psychology and criminal justice major who wants to get into mental health counseling. “I did not know what to expect, but everybody was so helpful and so accepting. It
was something that I had been looking forward to for about a year and a half and to just be able to get a tryout was like a huge thing.”
It was huge thing on Aug. 30, 2003 when Katie Hnida made two extra points in New Mexico’s win against visiting Texas State to become the first woman to contribute in the scoring summary of an NCAA Division I game.
Hnida reached out to Goss via Twitter a few years ago and they developed a nice relationship before finally meeting in Kent when Hnida was on campus last year for a speaking engagement.
Hnida spoke with Goss the day before the game and they texted each other on game day. “I gave her the basic kicking advice, stuff like don’t think about anything else because it is just you and that ball and that is it,” said Hnida, who speaks with professional and college athletes about sexual assault and anti-violence awareness. “Do not be thinking about anything else. She had some media attention (leading up to the game) and I was like, ‘Put that all out of your head.’ I was so excited for her and the best part of it is that she is such a great kid.”
Goss has enjoyed Hnida’s friendship and values her support.
“Our relationship just kind of grew, which is really cool,” said Goss, a big Steelers fan. “We only met once, but I talk to her on a pretty consistent basis. We talk about a lot of things and she talks about her experiences and I take her advice.”
Whether she gets another chance to kick this season remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, though: like Hnida, Goss has an experience she can share while encouraging others to break down barriers in order to pursue a passion.
“Whatever desire you have and whatever dreams are in your heart, go after it,” she said. “Don’t let it discourage you even if the odds of failing are much higher than succeeding. It will be difficult and some days will be worse than others. But if it is something that you are passionate about, go for it.” Goss did.