CHICAGO -- ABC Owned Television Stations and ABC's Localish present 50 inspiring stories from around the country for Fifty/50, as part of The Walt Disney Company's monumental initiative highlighting the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding, and gave women the equal opportunity to play. This story was originally published in October 2021.
Football has always been a sport dominated by guys, but two Windy City sisters are showing the guys a thing or two this season.
De La Salle Institute in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood is all about girl power these days with not one, but two standout female kickers who are playing high school football.
De La Salle is the third oldest Catholic school in the city of Chicago, but the Meteors are making history for a different reason this fall.
This is Mia Loza's second season as the Meteors' starting varsity kicker.
"I'd say she's good from anywhere from the 40," said De La Salle Institute Football Coach Mike Boehm.
Coach Boehm's recruiting revelation happened as he watched Loza, who was a seasoned soccer player, at a practice last year.
"I was kicking the soccer ball, like shooting from long range. He saw my foot and he was like, 'let's try a field goal, maybe you could do it,'" Mia recalled.
"Hey, maybe she could help us. So you go over there, you bring your long snapper and your holder and she just starts booming 'em," Boehm said.
"I made it and he was like, 'let's get you on the football team,'" Mia said.
Mia's racked up more than a dozen extra points this season alone.
"At the high school level, when you're dealing with extra points and even field goals, those points are huge," Boehm said. "She's more consistent with PATs than any of the boys we have."
This year, another Loza has joined the De La Salle ranks with Mia's little sister, Sissi, kicking for the JV team.
"She watched that happen, she quickly wanted to do the same and there was no hesitation," said De La Salle Institute Principal Thomas Schergen.
"I'm up for it, if you want me, too," Sissi said. "Now, we're the kickers for JV and Varsity."
The sisters said they encourage each other.
"You can see when they're working on their stuff at practice, they're helping each other out and coaching each other up," Boehm said.
Their teammates are also big fans.
"I'm like their little sister on the team. They protect me on the field," Mia said.
While the Loza sisters are making history at De La Salle, it's a feeling of history repeating itself for the family. Mia and Sissi's mother was a standout soccer player in high school as well. Back then, her school didn't have a girls team, so she became the first to make the boys squad.
"Leaving her mark on her high school was something really big for her. She's also in the hall of fame at her high school," Mia said.
"She was like, 'Go for it, don't look back,'" Sissi added.
"I think it's really good for our school, seeing that there's girls who could do something that boys can do -- like girl power," Mia said.
"You see the Facebook and Twitter posts from the parents, just rallying around her, just saying 'girl power." It's pretty cool," Boehm said. "Very cool for them and for the institution."