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Hy-Vee Athlete and Pepsi Athlete of the Week: Park Hill junior Annalise Anderson

Anderson to play for U.S. Junior Flag Football National Team
Anna Anderson
Posted at 3:00 PM, Apr 10, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill High School junior Annalise Anderson knows what it's like to stick out.

"It's going to be uncomfortable, so embrace that," Anderson said.

Anderson's the first female at Park Hill to earn a varsity letter in football.

"It's awesome, you know, she's at every workout, every practice, doesn't miss a thing," said Andy Sims, Park Hill head football coach. "She's one of our PAT kickers. She also had an on-side kick in the district game this year, we recovered the on-side kick, so she's a valuable part of what we do for sure."

Picking up flag football in the fourth grade, Anderson made the switch to tackle football in middle school, which she said took some getting used to.

"Just preparing myself for the contact, especially against guys, is a way different ball game," Anderson said.

Sticking out in a good way, Anderson is the first female football player in the Kansas City area to make the 2024 17U Girls National Team, securing a spot on the 18-man athlete roster.

"This is just one more thing that we get to celebrate which is always fun," Sims said.

USA Football will announce the final 12-athlete rosters for the U.S. Boys and Girls' Flag Junior National Teams following a training camp in Charlotte, North Carolina, from late May into early June.

The other athletes will serve as alternates, available to be called up to the 12-athlete roster if needed.

"I got a call and I answered and they were like, 'Hey, congrats, you made the national team,' and I just didn't know what to do, I was so happy," Anderson said.

If there's one thing Anderson wants to share with young girls interested in playing football, it's to just play your game.