Breaking Barriers

Cheerleader seeks out future career in football coaching.


Photo by Harper Lee

Junior Isabel Diaz poses with a football.

Junior Isabel Diaz is a girl going into a man’s world.

Diaz is a cheerleader who wants to be a football coach. She grew up with the sport, watching it with her family every Sunday. From there, she grew a passion for it, and that passion turned her toward a career choice.

Diaz has been working with football coaches Brian Brazil, Jeff Hill and Robert Vaughn, hoping to gain more knowledge that will help her in the future.

“As a freshman, I knew I wanted to coach,” Diaz said. “Going into high school, I knew this was a time for me to get it together and actually make moves. Coach Hill also invited me to go in Saturday and Sunday mornings and sit there during the player’s meetings. Coach Vaughn is taking me under his wing right now; he’ll go over the plays with me and start writing things out. I’m starting to see progress. I’m doing basic concepts right now and [I] can see the progress of me from starting at my first game to now.”

Diaz hopes to major in sports management and minor in journalism, as a backup plan. Diaz is currently interested in the University of Alabama, Oklahoma State and the University of Michigan.

“When I’m looking at colleges, I look at the football programs,” Diaz said.  “Alabama has one of the best programs in the nation. Oklahoma [State] has a coaching program, and Michigan has a coach from the NFL, so he knows what he’s doing. I want to be a manager for the team or be a graduate assistant and just be involved in football and be surrounded by that scene.”

Diaz is aware that not many women go into the profession. However, according to Diaz, going into football coaching is helping her break a barrier not many get to.

“It’s a little scary at times,” Diaz said. “I learned, by being a girl going into a man’s world, that it’s OK to be different. It’s OK to go out there and do something different, make an impact. I’m hoping I can use this as a platform [to show] that girls can do anything guys can do. That’s something I really strive for, to be someone who can be a trailblazer in this industry and hope that I can impact younger girls and help them think that they can follow their dreams.”

That’s something I really strive for, to be someone who can be a trailblazer in this industry and hope that I can impact younger girls and help them think that they can follow their dreams.

— Isabel Diaz

Through her journey of becoming a trailblazer, Diaz feels the coaches at Hebron have impacted and supported her the entire way.

“Coach Brazil has impacted me by just giving me the opportunity of getting me into the football program,” Diaz said. “Coach Hill and Coach Vaughn have impacted me tremendously by just giving me a chance. This is something different; it’s something you don’t come across. And for them to accept it, be there, and help me out, it has been so helpful and has made a huge impact on me.”

During her time pursuing her interest by learning and training to become a football coach, Diaz has grown confident in herself and is happy to take a different step and becoming a role model towards others.

“[I like the idea of] having a voice for the girls who want to do something different with their lives, or even the boys who want to do something different than other people and [are] taking another pathway,” Diaz said. “The NFL is already transitioning into having more women: there’s a female owner and a referee. I’m hoping that as I get older that [there will be] more women in the NFL. I would love to impact other people’s lives. I would want to be able to go out there and give speeches and tell others that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”