IU senior Rachel Cogen was the starting kicker on her high school’s football team her sophomore year.
Cogen said the experience had many positive and negative effects, and she decided to publish a book about them. Cogen’s book is scheduled to publish sometime this fall.
While she was playing football, Cogen said other people looked at her as an example, but she never got to show what she actually went through. She said she got the idea for the book after she had to write college essays.
“I wrote my first college essay about football, and it was three pages long, and obviously college essays aren’t supposed to be that long,” Cogen said. “My teacher looked at it and said it needed to be shorter, but it was really good.”
After four years of writing and research, Cogen, who turned 21 last week, said she is close to publishing it.
“I wanted to publish it before I turned 21,” Cogen said. “But, with the help of an editor, I’m self-publishing it on Amazon in the fall.”
Cogen said her journey started long before the book was even a thought, before she played football.
Growing up, Cogen played soccer, competitive trampolining and tumbling. She had been playing soccer for about eight years when she discovered football, and she found kicking a football more challenging.
“I liked that it was hard and I had to work extra hard to even just make an extra point,” Cogen said. “In soccer, anybody can kick a ball into the goal if there’s no goalie. But in football, you really have to understand how to kick to get it off the ground.”
There are three classes in the Ohio High School Athletic Association, A, AA and AAA. Class AAA includes the largest schools in the area.
Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Cogen went to school, is classified as a AAA team and was not easy to start on, Cogen said. However, she earned the starting kicker position her sophomore year.
Cogen said she had started practicing in 2012 as a kicker with her older brother, who also kicked for the high school. In seventh grade, she broke her arm on a trampoline training for a national tournament, and she had to stop playing soccer, trampoline and tumbling. In eighth grade, Cogen said she started taking football more seriously.
By her sophomore year of high school, Cogen said she had learned the technical skills needed to start for the football team. However, she quit playing her senior year of high school.
“My junior year there was a lot of animosity that happened that left me very frustrated with the coaching staff,” Cogen said.
Now, Cogen is graduating from IU with a degree in psychology with a focus in business and sales. To keep active, she does kickboxing and exercises.
Cogen said she liked the experience of playing football in high school, but that it was hard.
“In the line up they were calling me names, saying things that were sexist,” Cogen said.
While she said she knows most people’s mindsets about someone in her position would be “anything a guy can do, a girl can do,” Cogen is still aware how physically demanding football can be and how isolating being a kicker is.
“By my junior year, there was only one other kicker,” Cogen said. “In that position, I had to work ten times harder than any of the other guys had to just to be equal to them.”
Cogen said she was upset about what people thought about her when she stopped playing football.
“I was really tired of people coming up to me and asking why I stopped playing,” Cogen said. “People kept asking, ‘Did you like playing football?’ and neither of those answers are linear answers.”