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Meet the Rapid City Marshals' only female player

The crowd went wild when kicker Melissa Strother’s name was announced during the Marshal’s season opener. And nobody was more surprised than Strother herself.

“So walking in, definitely did not expect there to be so many people there. Or to get the response that I got," Strother said. "And man, they went nuts! It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.”


Strother drove her white Mustang convertible from San Diego, CA to Rapid City in January, in a blizzard. She was nervous the whole time, but she was also nervous about getting to South Dakota. She really wasn’t sure what she was walking into.

“Going into men's football, it's been kind of like a 60-40," Strother said. "You know, some people watch to see if you will succeed, and some people watch kind of hoping to see you fail.”

So far, Strother has been pleasantly surprised. Her teammates are very supportive and treat her just like any other player. She hopes one day being a woman on a male football team won’t be a big deal.

“When I'm just called a football player instead of the female football player or the female kicker. Oh, that's the kicker on the team, not the oh, that's the kicker. She's a female. That's, that's when I know the difference has been made.”

Strother played professional women’s football for 13 years and loved it. But she wanted a new challenge. So, she started contacting different men's teams and leagues and got some calls back. But it was the Marshals that really stood out to her.

“Of all the coaches I talked to, the only ones in the first two sentences that said 'we want to win a championship' was the Rapid City Marshals," Strother said. "And you know, I'm go big or go home. So, if I'm going to do it, I want to win.”

The Marshals play their home games at the Summit Arena at The Monument and are currently two games into their 12-game season. They won their first game against the Topeka Tropics and lost this past Saturday to the Sioux City Bandits. The Marshals next head to Gillette on April 16th to face the Wyoming Mustangs.