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Girl of the Gridiron

Featured Photo from Girl of the Gridiron

This Oviedo teen proves that football can be anyone’s game

Like many fathers, Oviedo’s Rob Brodsky imagined that one day he would coach his child in the game he loved: football. What he did not expect was that the child he would first coach on the football field would be his daughter, Korielle.

Rob started coaching youngsters in the Central Florida Youth Football League (CFYFL) more than 10 years ago, and when Korielle, his first child, was barely out of diapers, he began bringing her to his team’s games at the Hagerty and Oviedo high school football fields.

“I just remember her always being at the field with me,” Rob says. “She saw daddy coaching, and she wanted to play. You always think that your son would be the one to play football, but since she expressed interest, I was all for it.”

Mom Nichole was not okay with the idea at first. But when Korielle was about five years old, after the league’s owner said she could play and promised she would not get hurt, mom allowed Korielle to sign up to play with the CFYFL’s 8-and-under Bobbleheads.

“I feel like I’ve always been around football,” says Korielle, an eighth grader who turned 14 on January 30. “I watched my dad coach, and I just wanted to play. It looked like fun.”

Starting when she was in kindergarten, Korielle played a few seasons for the Bobbleheads as an offensive lineman. Around age seven, Korielle took one year off from football because there was no team for her age group. Instead, she decided to try cheerleading, but that did not go well.

“She said it was too boring,” Nichole remembers.

“I like sports where you get to run,” Korielle says, “and I like contact.”

Korielle returned to the CFYFL the following year. She had always played with older kids, and that was okay in the beginning. But as Korielle got older, the boys started getting much bigger. So, when she was around 11 years old, her dad decided it was time for her to hang up the football cleats.

Fortunately, Korielle had another chance to play football one year later, and she made the best of it. The coach of a 12-and-under CFYFL team needed a center, and when Rob approached Korielle about playing again, she was over the moon.
“I asked her if she wanted to go back to football,” Rob says. “She said, ‘Are you lying?’ She was ecstatic.”

“I was surprised,” Korielle says. “I thought I was done with football. When I found out I was going to play again, I was  really happy.”

Since then, Korielle has made both the 12-and-under and 14-and-under CFYFL All-Star teams, and this past December, she was the first girl to play in the Youth Shrine Bowl, an annual event played against an All-Star team from California. The game is a Shriners‘ fundraiser for the benefit of burn victims.

Korielle was nominated to play in the game by her coaches, and a committee then selected the all-star team’s 28 players. They each raised money for the game by selling tickets and soliciting donations, all while promoting awareness about the Shriners.

Korielle ended up being the top fundraiser on the Florida team, collecting more than $2,000.

“I heard that there had never been a girl on the Central Florida team, and I wanted to be the first one,” says Korielle, who had attended previous Shrine Bowl games with her family. “I set my goal to raise $2,000. I didn’t think I’d achieve it, but I passed it in about a month.”

Korielle was one of four captains on the Florida team, and when she took the field before the start of the game for the coin flip, the other players towered over her. In addition to the huge height differential, Korielle was easy to spot because of the long, blond ponytail cascading from the back of her football helmet.

Even though Korielle’s team lost the game, her dad says she played well, and Korielle enjoyed the experience.
“It was fun,” she says. “I got to talk to the players from the other team and made friends with them.”

In January, for the second year in a row, Korielle also played in a game in Mérida, Mexico, called the Union Bowl, pitting a team from Central Florida against a team from Mexico.

Next school year, Korielle is hoping to play one final season of football – on the Hagerty High School freshman team. After that, she plans to concentrate on lacrosse.

“People say I’m a tomboy because I play football,” Korielle says, “but I don’t think of myself as one.”

Nichole says her daughter can even be a bit of a girly girl.

“She always has to have her mascara on and her clothes have to be just right,” she says.

“The best way to say it,” Rob adds, “she’s just Korielle.”

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