Jackson State football placekicker Leilani Armenta has made the decision to step away from soccer to pursue football full-time. Armenta released a letter of her intentions to continue her football career and focus on it full-time via her social media accounts.
Her statement read,
“I would like to thank God, my parents and everyone who has supported me in my life. With that being said, I will be stepping away from soccer and pursuing collegiate football as a kicker. It has been my dream to play Division I football and playing for Coach TC Taylor has been a blessing. I am very thankful for the opportunity to continue playing for such an amazing program. I will continue pursuing my football career at Jackson State University and I would like to thank the Tiger family for supporting me and I can't wait to see what the future holds for the JSU football program. Go Tigers!”
— Leilani Armenta 🌺 (@LeilaniArmenta) November 29, 2023
Armenta made her debut as a placekicker for Jackson State during their matchup against SWAC East rival Bethune-Cookman University. She started the game kicking the ball off in lieu of injuries to kicker Gerardo Baeza and punter Matt Noll. She returned to the field in Jackson State's win over the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to kick a PAT, becoming the first woman in Division I football to score a point. Armenta is the second woman football player in HBCU football as she was preceded by Shaw University's India Pulphus earlier in the season.
She was spotlighted on College Gameday earlier this month for her historic feat and recounted kicking the PAT vs. UAPB.
“I was on the sideline at the time and Coach T. C. Taylor told me and I was like, oh my goodness. It was my first, you know, extra point at the collegiate level…When I took those steps I was nervous, but the minute I got back there I was like, I'm gonna be good, I got it. I looked at the ball, looked at my holder, and then from there I was like, okay, that's the same thing in practice.”
Leilani Armenta was a huge story in college football this season and she will continue to make headlines for years to come.