Castlemont High's first female football player will have helmet displayed at Rose Bowl

A young athlete for Castlemont High School's football team is enshrined in history as the team's inaugural female player.

Danielle Johnson, 16, stands just under 5 feet tall and weighs a bit over 100 pounds.

Danielle played a pivotal role in helping the Castlemont Knights secure victory against Los Angeles' Dorsey Dons in the final minutes of the "Oakland - Los Angeles Neighborhood Football Classic" on Friday.

Danielle expressed, "They’re way bigger, but I still play with them."

She is Castlemont High School's first female football player, having discovered her passion for the gridiron at the age of eight.

"If you like the sport, no matter what your gender is, just come out and play it," she said.

Her mother, Shaunte Green, initially had reservations about her daughter playing the sport.

"I was a little skeptical about it because I thought she was going to get hurt, but she plays just like the boys do, matter a fact she’s tougher than some of them," Green remarked.

Green said that Danielle's teammates are like big brothers to her daughter.

"They treat her like that's their little sister. They all protect her," the woman said.

Danielle concurred, stating, "They treat me like one of the guys. if I get hurt, they tell me it’s ok and to get back up and do it again."

Teammate Elijah Washington emphasized that Danielle is a cherished member of the team.

"She brings a lot of pride to the team," Elijah said.

This Oakland pride propelled the team to Los Angeles, where they faced Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High. The Castlemont Knights also had the unique opportunity to visit the famed Rose Bowl Stadium.

Danielle's coach, Edward Washington, selected her helmet to be prominently displayed in the new California High School Football Hall of Fame at the Rose Bowl Stadium.

"She wrote history. She wrote her own story, and that’s the beautiful thing," said Washington.

Castlemont's varsity team became the first football team to visit the exhibit and witness where Danielle's helmet will be permanently showcased for years to come.

"I see it as an opportunity to let other females know that it’s not just dudes that can play football, you can also play football as well," teammate Jalen Washington expressed.

It is this camaraderie and dedication that makes Danielle the heart of the team, according to Coach Washington.

"To have resiliency and to never quit – it just shows who she is, and she’s very tough," he said.

Playing safety, her teammates have experienced her toughness firsthand.

"I’ve witnessed her get hit, and I’ve seen her get right back up," said Anthony Ellis attested. "She’s a tough girl."

Danielle serves as a role model and an achiever.

"Anything is possible and whatever you do in life, as long as you are confident in it, and you believe in yourself, it can be done," Coach Washington emphasized.

Danielle aspires to play professionally, stating, "If they let me, I’d really go pro.I’d do it."