She’s a “gentle giant,” playing the game she loves: football

Isabella Green is a leader on and off the field at Barbara Bush Middle School

Isabella Green is playing her second year of football at Barbara Bush Middle School. The "gentle giant" is setting the bar for her male teammates who call her "Judy."

SAN ANTONIO – It’s a sport dominated by the guys, but at Barbara Bush Middle School on the Northeast Side of San Antonio, their offensive line is led by 13-year-old Isabella Green.

“She came one day and said mom, I tried out for football, and I made it …and I said, you understand that this is a contact sport, right?” Belinda Green, her mother, said.

For first-year eight grade football coach, Eli Vega, Isabella is an important asset to the Northeast ISD middle school.

“When I saw her come in for equipment pickup, she was like I played last year and I was like great,” Vega said. “She told me she played offensive line so that made me happier because she was able to help us in the line of scrimmage.”

Isabella, known as “Judy” by her teammates, tells me she’s simply playing the game she loves.

“I’ve just always been a lot bigger than everybody else and stronger,” Isabella said. “So I figured I could try something new.”

Her parents and sister are big supporters of the student-athlete, but it was a surprise to her mother when she told her she tried out.

“I wasn’t sure if she knew what she signed up for, and sure enough she went, she loved it, she asked for all the gear, she was watching the plays, she was practicing at home and here we are,” Belinda said.

At the games, you’ll find her support system wearing her number proudly, some of the fans are neighbors attending the game just to see Isabella make her tackles.

“They’ll come and then her friends wear 79 on their cheek or draw it on their jeans,” Belinda said.

And from the field to the classroom, Isabella is also dominating in the band, where she plays percussion, and in other extracurricular activities.

“I’m actually very proud of her. She is in our honors classes. She is also a part of our band, part of robotics she’s also a multisport athlete,” Coach Vela said. “So, it’s very encouraging to see her out there and doing other things as well, besides playing football, which she does a great job at that.”

Isabella is considering her options as she plans her freshman year at Ronald Reagan High School because playing football and doing the halftime band performance may be a bit challenging, but then again, Isabella may just be able to pull that off too.

“You should do what makes you happy while you’re able to,” she said.

Whatever she plans for her future, mom tells us, she’s ready to lead the way--football helmet or band uniform.

“Isabella is a natural-born leader. People gather around her, they listen to her. She loves to inspire people. She never leaves anybody out,” Belinda said. “She believes in everybody being able to participate at whatever magnitude.”

About the Author:

Jennifer Tobias-Struski loves her hometown of San Antonio, and is proud to celebrate it every day working on SA Live. The Emmy-Award winning producer hosts the Mom-Day series, featuring fun, family-themed segments from crafting to fashion hacks every Monday.