Ava Childs of Glen Ellyn did her part, beating out more than 17,000 other young NFL fans to win this year’s NFL Play 60 Super Kid award.
Unfortunately, when the 10-year-old landed in Dallas with her family, she wasn’t joined by her favorite team and her favorite player. The Bears were defeated by the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game and kicker Robbie Gould couldn’t make the trip because his flight was cancelled due to weather.
“It’s really, really exciting,” Childs said. “But I was a little disappointed that the Bears didn’t make it.”
Childs claimed the title of Super Kid by pledging to be active for at least 60 minutes a day and answering questions about the importance of fitness and health. She focused on how Gould inspires her to try and become the first female kicker in the NFL. Meanwhile, she’s also outlined Gould’s future: she wants him to be her coach.
“He stuck with his goal to be in the NFL, even after he was cut, and he’s very polite in his interviews,” Childs said.
Gould also made a surprise visit to her school, where he told all of her teachers and classmates about her and handed her a jersey.
“It was awesome,” she said. “And he taught me how to kick a field goal, and my classmates, too.
“It was really fun.”
Gould said he’s flattered by Childs and all of his fans.
“It was fun to go out there and visit her school,” Gould said. “It’s always great to have young fans.
“You can relate to anybody, whether they’re male or female. Everybody has a dream. I just want to make sure I’m a positive role model.”
Gould, who was released by the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens before he signed with the Bears, has developed into one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history.
Childs currently plays soccer, but she’s been practicing her field goals. And although snow and ice limited her family’s mobility, she still spent an hour in the hotel pool.
“I thought it was going to be warm, and we were hoping it would be so we could go in the outdoor pool,” she said.
Her parents are proud of her, and they support her bid to become the NFL’s first female kicker.
“She believes girls should be able to play any sports that boys can play,” Laura Childs said of her daughter. “I think it’s great. I do firmly believe that women should be able to play any sport.”
Besides, Laura said, kicker isn’t as dangerous as some other positions.
“It is one of the more feasible positions that are doable,” Laura said. “They don’t have 300-pound guys trying to tackle her [like a running back].”