From playing youth, high school, and winning championships in college, Jenna Gentile has been doubted many times. Going up to a group of boys has never stopped Gentile from asking, “Can I play?”
“Playing with the boys, along with my twin brother, when I was little made me stand out and prove who I am as a female athlete,” said Gentile. “To this day, coed soccer leagues continue to make me a better player with the quicker speed of play.”
“It’s a huge stereotype that ‘boys are better than girls’ and that’s not the case,” said Gentile. “I can say with confidence that I am a better soccer player and athlete then some boys. To overcome difficulties, I had to become more confident and work harder to prove people wrong. I needed to prove what girls, including myself, are capable of.”
According to the Womans Sports Foundation, by age 14, many girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys.
“There is no reason for girls to be scared to play youth sports due to the physicality, social status, and stereotypes because it should be a privilege to be a female athlete,” said Gentile. “Females are so strong and just as, if not more, capable than males. All youth females need to be confident and patient with themselves while playing the sport they play. The major thing that made me overcome the social status and physicality of youth sports, was by having fun and to become better and stronger. I wanted to compete and to win games rather than care about what people thought.”
Gentile said she recommends everyone to set goals for themselves. She also said believing and having self-confidence are key aspects of being a better athlete. By doing that, Gentile said youth female athletes can achieve anything they set their mind to.