It was the kick heard 'round the world, or, at least the one seen on most major U.S. television networks. And to think it might never have happened at all, had Ashley Martin not had a change of college plans.
Ashley was anticipating a possible soccer scholarship offer to play at an SEC school closer to her hometown in Georgia when a respected soccer coach suggested she check out JSU instead.
The rest is her story.
"The minute I drove onto this campus, I knew that I was home," she recalls.
Fast forward to August 30, 2001. JSU is leading Cumberland at home, but not in women's soccer. This matchup is in football, where the Gamecock squad is made up of men, with the exception of one female Gamecocks soccer player who doubles as a kicker for the Gamecocks. Coming off a touchdown, the Gamecocks call in their secret weapon to kick the PAT. That secret weapon is Ashley Martin. She sets her sights on the goal and her kick goes up, up, up, veering slightly to the right just before clearing the goalpost. The stadium erupts.
"The minute I drove onto this campus, I knew that I was home."
And just like that, Ashley became the first woman to score in an NCAA Division I American football game! The double major in English and Psychology who also doubled in soccer and football broke barriers for female athletes then, and continues to inspire them today. Almost overnight, she was on her way to New York City for an appearance on nationally-syndicated "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee."
The life lessons she took from her collegiate experiences are now shared with the young people she coaches and administrates through her role as a high school soccer coach and Dean of Students at Hillcrest Elementary.
Ashley says her life "post-JSU" has been awesome. She shares that life with her husband Jake Cockrell and her three children, who keep her very busy with, among other activities, being a soccer mom.
After her big night, Ashley was off to New York, where she appeared on "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee."