Napoleon’s Maggie Van Wagnen, An Inspiration For Young Girls Everywhere

The Napoleon Michigan Pirates high school football team is teed up for kickoff. Number 42 kicks the ball deep in the opposing team’s territory giving the Pirate defense plenty of time to make a great play burying their opponent deep in their own zone. That is another outstanding kick for number 42. As they head to the sidelines the kicker removes their helmet showing off the long braided ponytail they dye green for every game. And then she supports her team.

Yes, the Pirates kicker is a girl, senior Maggie Van Wagnen who loves sports and is a significant influence on all especially the younger girls who may want to play football someday. When her name is announced before the game all the kids cheer. She does not boast, she does not brag, she is good at what she does, and she inspires!

Maggie grew up watching football and was fascinated from the moment she saw it. She always felt bad though because she thought since she was a girl she could never play it. But the love she has for the game overpowered the stigma so she decided to join her local communities team where she played 1 year of junior varsity and 2 years of varsity for her beloved Pirates.

The Pirate teammates were very welcoming to her being on the team with no signs of sexism or any harassment at all. They treated her just like everyone else. Also supporting her was the entire community especially her parents, Aaron & Lenae Van Wagnen, and younger sister Kate. They were especially proud of her as she made history in the area.

“Everyone treated me great,” Maggie stated. “Napoleon football has been absolutely amazing in helping me create history!”

In addition to football, she ran track and plays soccer, where she was heavily recruited by many Division 1 colleges. She has been receiving interest from Soccer coaches since her sophomore year of high school and she visited lots of camps but ultimately she has decided to continue her soccer career at Central Michigan University (CMU) where her older sister Libbie plays.

“I’m very excited to play with my sister next year,” she stated. “We have trained together since we were very little but rarely had the opportunity to play in games together so I’m very excited for this.”

Maggie is a very strong influence in her community through her positive actions and beliefs. She is the founder and president of her school’s Bible study, Faithful. The group meets three times a week to worship and spread the Good News. She is also very involved at her local church, Jackson Free Methodist. She also is a part of her school’s leadership class where they spend lots of time volunteering and helping out the community.

Maggie has a strong belief in God who is her biggest inspiration in her life because He reminds her to be kind, loving, positive, and a good role model for others to look up to.

“Maggie is such a big inspiration and role model to so many around her,” yearbook photographer and classmate Isabelle “Izzy” Winkler stated. “When I think about Maggie playing football, yeah she’s a great kicker, but I think more of the message it puts out. She’s doing something out of the normal and showing girls that they can do anything they want in a so-called “man’s world”. She plays and does it for the right reasons. I’ve enjoyed watching her play and I’m excited to see where life takes her next because I know it’s going to be something big!”

Maggie will be taking her athletic and scholastic skills to CMU where she will be majoring in Biomedical Science to hopefully someday be a dermatologist and continue her quest to help and inspire others.

“My biggest reason for joining football was to show the world girls can do anything that they put their minds to,” Maggie said. “I want all the little girls to know to never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you are a girl. I am living proof of hat. To all the little girls, YOU CAN!”

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