It all started with the longstanding, very competitive Coronado High School tradition of an end-of-the year Powderpuff football game between the junior and senior girls.
Lindsey Balsley, a junior at the time, went to punt and, in the words of head football Coach Kurt Hines, “booted the heck out of a ball.”
Hines, who was refereeing the June 2023 game, said he turned to look at some of his assistant coaches and acknowledged the power of her punt.
Excited about her potential, he then approached Balsley about joining the football team as a kicker for the 2023 fall season.
“I knew I was pretty good at punting the ball, but I didn’t think it could be something that I could play football for our team,” Balsley said. “I was happy to see [that] coach Hines saw something in me.”
Already a multi-sport athlete
Although Balsley really didn’t play football growing up, besides the occasional catch with her dad, she has plenty of experience in multiple sports—track, soccer, volleyball and now football.
Balsley is a seasoned Coronado High multi-sport athlete who completed her junior year track season as a double medalist in the CIF San Diego Section Track & Field Championship Finals. She also was named the season’s female Most Valuable Player by the coaching staff.
Now, adding football on top of her three-sport repertoire, there are not enough seasons to fit all four sports into her senior year.
That means she will be competing in both volleyball and football this fall.
Balancing two sports
This commitment requires long days of practice, especially once the school year starts and classes begin. But Balsley said she is up for the challenge.
Balancing volleyball and football is super busy and it makes me work on time management.”-Lindsey Balsley
“Balancing volleyball and football is super busy and it makes me work on time management,” Balsley said. “I’ve learned to figure out what I want to do with my time and it’s made me a better athlete all around.”
Hines said they’ve worked out a good schedule where Balsley can come to practice for two or three times a week, for half an hour or 40 minutes, to practice her kicking.
Once school starts, Balsley said she will have volleyball games roughly every Tuesday and Thursday, football games on Fridays and practices for both sports every day.
The football team practices earlier than the volleyball program, so Balsley can jump from one to the other.
Adeile Ahmu, head volleyball coach at CHS for the past five years, is looking forward to the volleyball season, which kicked off with the first game, a three set sweep, against Maranatha High School on Aug. 16.
Understanding the difficulty of balancing such a tight schedule, Ahmu said she has faith Balsley will be able to juggle it all.
As a teammate, she brings accountability and helps push others to be their best.”-Adeile Ahmu, head volleyball coach.
“Lindsey has always played dual sports and is a very strong athlete,” Ahumu said. “As a player, Lindsey brings her athleticism, experience as a varsity player and positive energy. As a teammate, she brings accountability and helps push others to be their best.”
Tackling a new position
New to football, Balsley said she is enjoying the challenge of learning a new position.
“She just seems like an amazing young woman who’s got great potential.”-Kurt Hines, head football coach.
“She just seems like an amazing young woman who’s got great potential,” Hines said. “She knows that no spot for anyone, returning starter or not, is guaranteed.”
Hines said he could tell right away that Balsley was competitive based on her commitment in practice to perfecting her kick.
But as a kicker, punting a football downfield or kicking it through the uprights may not be her only responsibility.
It is also important for kickers to know how to tackle for coverage on kickoffs or field goals.
Hines said he is working with Balsley on practicing tackles in a way that is effective and safe for her.
One of two young women on the team
On the football team this season are two female athletes.
Senior Emilia Alpert plays all aspects of the game as running back on offense and inside linebacker on defense. Balsley is joining her as a kicker.
Balsley said she is treated no differently than any other player as one of the few female athletes on the team because the CHS football team and coaching staff have created an environment of one big family.
And Hines has openly welcomed girls on his teams in the past.
While she is treated the same as any other player, she said the anomaly of being a female on a football team can, at times, seem like she’s playing under a microscope.
But Balsley is experienced at dealing with this “all eyes on you” pressure as a multi-sport athlete.
“I personally do good under pressure, and I feel like being under that pressure all the time just makes me a better athlete,” Balsley said.