WHITEFISH BAY -- Football is a calling. That's the way Dominican High School student-athlete Juliana Hobbs sees it. She may be small in stature, but nobody has a bigger heart.
The Dominican High School football program took some big strides this season. The young men and women grew a great deal.
One day, freshman Juliana Hobbs decided to join the team -- all 5'1" and 115 pounds of her!
"Why should football only be, you know, for boys? I mean, there's powder puff, but sometimes girls just want to get rough and tough and tumble around," said Hobbs, Dominican High School freshman receiver and defensive back.
Hobbs didn't get any arguments from her coaches and teammates. It was actually quite the contrary.
"Juliana's been great. She came in and she wanted to play right away. She's worked hard just like the rest of us. She's put in the work and we're really happy to have her," sad Rick Sherlock, Dominican High School junior center and nose guard.
"She's always trying to learn, asking questions. 'Coach, what do I do here? Where should I be? Where should I be? What if they do this?' Just really trying to commit herself to learning the game," said David Mertens, Dominican High School defensive coordinator.
Hobbs is a wide receiver and defensive back. She loves running, getting to catch the ball -- and believe it or not, the contact!
"I like the contact because it means they don't care that I'm a girl. They're not afraid to touch me because I don't have cooties the last time I checked," said Hobbs.
Hobbs says her parents are her role models.
Eric and Brenda Hobbs adopted Juliana from Guatemala when she was 10 months old. They prayed fervently that she wouldn't get hurt, but they accepted her desire to set a goal and attain it.
"Juliana is kind of a trailblazer in other ways, too. Just her persistence to do what she really loves to do and to work hard at it. To want to improve, to seek out ways that she can improve -- real-life skills and yeah, we're very proud of her," said Brenda Hobbs.
"I love her self-confidence and her willingness to want to be herself irrespective of what other people think. She has a firm grounding in her faith in Jesus. He's her identity and that gives her freedom to be whomever she wishes. It's awesome. It's awesome to watch her," said Eric Hobbs.
That faith gives Juliana Hobbs the freedom to stand up to those who don't think a young lady should play tackle football with the boys.
"Maybe it's a little bit alien to them. But hopefully they'll get used to it for the next four years," said Hobbs.
Hobbs celebrated her 15th birthday on Thursday, November 5th. She says she wants to spend her life helping people. Her desire is to "do anything small that can help make a big change."