Christchurch K Hayley Van Voorhis (Photo courtesy of Hayley Van Voorhis and Christchurch Athltetics)
Multi-sport athlete Hayley Van Voorhis has multiple options
by Byron Jones, recruit804
Last Saturday morning I was having a cup of coffee and scrolling my Twitter feed looking for recruiting news/updates when out of nowhere I stumbled across Hayley Van Voorhis from Christchurch. She had announced that she had received her first collegiate opportunity to play football at Shenandoah University.
At first glance, I thought she was a kicker and was following in the footsteps of Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller. I clicked on her profile and her Hudl link was pinned to the top of her profile. I clicked on the link and sat through the mandatory ten second advertisement. Once her film began, my mouth hit the floor….
Ik we all see those girls playing D1 sports not being able to do a proper push-up but have u seen a 16 year old girl hit 165 pic.twitter.com/xAq5ZrzIUY
— Haley Van Voorhis (@Haley_VV) August 13, 2020
Hayley Van Voorhis wasn’t a kicker. She was a free-safety and she was laying the wood!! In the game featured in her hudl film, Van Voorhis recorded seven tackles, hauled in a reception, and threw a block that allowed her quarterback to break free for a touchdown. Her tenacity level was off the charts and I have watched her video at least 20 times since Saturday.
“I have been playing football for as long as I can remember but I joined a team when I was 10. I’ve always enjoyed watching football, but from my first ever football practice it became a love,” explained Van Voorhis.
2020 has been a remarkable year for women in the game of football. Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power 5 game against Mizzou, and two weeks later, she became the first woman to score in a Power 5 game. In September, two female coaches, Callie Brownson (Browns)/Jennifer King (Washington), and a female referee, Sarah Thomas, were all on the same field at the same time in an official capacity.
When asked how these women have inspired her in recent months, Hayley stated, “I think what they are doing is really amazing. They are paving a way for female football players like myself who are looking to play at the higher levels of the game.”
@Haley_VV continues to show why she deserves a spot on a college football team in 2021. 245lbs at about 150?! That's over 160% of her body weight … at the end of 2 hours. This athlete goes morning, noon, and night! pic.twitter.com/Tr5wwqRfXy
— CoachHomer (@EdHomerCCS) October 13, 2020
The game of football is a physically demanding sport. There are parents who don’t allow their sons to play the game in fear of injury. For Van Voorhis, that has never been an issue with her parents. They have supported her desire to play the game and are her biggest supporters.
“My parents always told me that they were more comfortable with me playing since they had heard about Katie Hnida’s accomplishments before I was born. Both of them have always wanted me to do what I love. After seeing me play in my previous sports with my toughness and competitiveness, they never questioned or doubted me,” she stated.
Hayley’s also received additional support from her coaching staff, teammates, and faculty at Christchurch. “I have played football at Christchurch for 3 years and played a year previously before that at Kettle Run. Most of my coaches, teammates, and faculty have all been really supportive. I am grateful to have these people all around me because they have helped me get where I have gotten today.”
When asked how it felt to land an opportunity from Shenandoah, Hayley stated, “It felt pretty amazing. I have been working so hard for so long and I am happy that it’s starting to pay off. It’s not been easy to get this type of opportunity, and it means more than anyone will ever know.”
Hayley is being recruited to Shenandoah University by Assistant Coach Byron Mitchell. Mitchell serves as the Hornets defensive backs coach and likes what he sees out of Van Voorhis play. “Coach Mitchell has recruited me for the most part. He recognizes how hard I work and the mentality I bring. He wants me to bring those qualities to Shenandoah’s program.”
At this point, Hayley is also being recruited to play football at Fitchburg State University and Christopher Newport. She’s a three-sport athlete and competes in basketball and lacrosse at Christchurch. On the hardwood, Hayley is a two-time MVP and captain.
Football is her passion, but she’s keeping her options open as to what sport she plays at the next level. “Although football is what I am trying to play in college, I am also looking to play basketball as well. Many schools have expressed interest in me but some of them do not have a football program,” she explained.
Hayley hopes that her exposure continues to grow so she can inspire other young girls in the area that are looking to play football. When asked what advice she would give to prospective girls interested in playing, Van Voorhis stated, “Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a man’s sport or that you’re too soft/weak to play. Anybody can be good at anything if they put their mind to it. But if you want to be great, you have to be ready to put in the extra work because it doesn’t come easy.”
– Byron Jones