COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Alyssa Derrick thought her athletic career was over once she graduated from the University of Maine in 2019, but a viral video of her throwing a football 60 yards at a tailgate several years ago led to an opportunity she never expected.
Derrick, 22, was an All-State softball and basketball player throughout her four years at Coventry High School. She went on to play softball at the collegiate level for UMaine.
She said she thought she would “never play competitive sports again,” that is, until a video of her throwing a football at a college tailgate in May 2017 resurfaced on TikTok.
At first, Derrick said she thought nothing of it. But after a few days, her phone began blowing up.
“I posted an Instagram story and it was the video and I captioned it, ‘This video will never go away, will it?'” she said.
Derrick’s rocket of an arm sparked interest from female football players living hundreds of miles away.
“One of my future teammates found the video, sent it to my future coach and said, ‘find her,'” Derrick recalled. “Then I got the message that I was going to be a professional women’s football player.”
Derrick signed with the Houston Stampede on June 26, which is part of the newly formed Women’s Football League Association.
“I’m still waiting for someone to pinch me and wake me up honestly,” she added.
Derrick said she’s willing to play any position, but her goal is to become the team’s quarterback over time.
She said she plans to make the most out of the experience.
“I want girls to have confidence to be a football player in high school and prove it to the guys,” Derrick said. “I want other people to look at me as a role model and to go through life and succeed.”