First published in the Oct. 28 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
This season, one of La Cañada High School’s varsity football players not only has put points on the scoreboard but also made a deep run into the selection process for acceptance to the Tournament of Roses Royal Court.
That player is the Spartans’ top placekicker, Shaina Clorfeine.
“I just thought what she was doing was so unique that it might be kind of fun to be the first girl who actually played football who’s also on the Rose Court,” her mother Sabina Clorfeine said. “I was super proud of her for going as far as she did.”
Shaina Clorfeine is a senior and the only girl on the football team, although that makes little difference when it comes to her position on the team.
“She’s pretty much automatic from within 30 yards, and that is pretty good in high school,” LCHS coach Dave Avramovich said. “She’s a really good high school kicker, that’s why she’s our kicker. The fact that she is female is just cool.”
Clorfeine has been playing football for the last three years at LCHS. For her, the team aspect has been a highlight.
“I love the environment so much,” she said. “I went from not knowing anybody on the team to having everybody be my best friends. They are my family now, and I honestly just love the experience and feeling like you are part of something.”
While being the lone girl on a boys’ team might have been notable at first, it’s old hat to Clorfeine now.
“I was super self-conscious about it in the beginning,” she said. “I didn’t know how people were going to perceive me, but everyone was super accepting. Now, I hang out in the locker room and stuff before games, and honestly, I just don’t notice it.”
She has proved to be an excellent teammate.
“She is just someone you want to be around. She is very supportive, like 100%,” Spartan senior Brandon Shepherd said. “Like the way you expect a teammate to be. Things don’t change just because she is a girl.”
Clorfeine has been on the La Cañada girls’ soccer team for the past three years and will be again in the winter season. At school she plays in the center midfield, but she’s an outside back for her club team. She also runs track.
“I’ve been playing soccer my whole life,” Clorfeine said. “One time I came out with my dad and we were shooting on [the LCHS field] and, obviously, there are the uprights. He just brought out a football and was like ‘Let’s see how far you can kick.’ So, I hit it from 30 yards out without any practice, and he was like ‘You’ve got this really cool talent. You should go out for the team.’”
That led her to play football her sophomore year, starting for the junior varsity team. She won the varsity starting job her junior season.
“It was cool to see Shaina come out, really compete, and take a starting spot our junior year over a male kicker,” Shepherd said.
Against Temple City this season, Clorfeine was a perfect six for six on point-after-touchdown kicks. It was the most she had kicked in a varsity game, though she thinks she kicked eight once as the JV kicker. Her feats this season include a 24-yard field goal against Campbell Hall.
“I can’t say anything but positive things about her,” Spartan junior Corey Cheung said. “It takes a lot of bravery to be a girl and come out for football, especially in high school, where all of your friends could potentially make fun of you. Despite that, she just goes out there and plays the best.”
Clorfeine is also active in other elements of high school life. She is part of the Athletic Leadership Council, with which she had input in the process that led to the hiring of Avramovich as the new coach this season. She also serves in the cabinet of the Associated Student Body as secretary.
“I look at her schedule and I don’t know how she does it,” dad Josh Clorfeine said. “She’s a very good and motivated student, she plays multiple sports and is involved in other things. She is a social person who likes being busy all the time and thrives on challenges.”
Trying out for a spot on the Tournament of Roses court had not always been on Shaina Clorfeine’s radar, but her mother gave her a nudge.
“My mom just looked at it and said, ‘You should try out for this. I think you have a chance,’” Clorfeine said. “I said OK, and I went into it not knowing what it was. And then I was really surprised I made it to the final round. I think it was definitely a cool experience and I’m really glad I did it.”
As she advanced in the process, her football teammates stepped up to support her.
“[When] I made it to the round of 25, the whole team came out to watch the coronation,” Clorfeine said. “They came and supported me and we got IHOP afterward, and it was really fun.”
Clorfeine has advice for other young women who might want to play football.
“I say do it. It can be scary going into it, and I totally understand that, but if you have the talent, just go for it,” she said. “As long as you believe you can do it, you’ll get the support.”
Clorfeine playing football can be an inspiration for girls who might want to step into her cleats. In fact, it already has.
“I have two daughters,” Avramovich said. “They didn’t know about [Clorfeine]. When they found out she plays football it made them feel like they can do anything, so I think it’s just a good role-model kind of deal for the community.
“She’s going to be a great leader the rest of her life,” the coach said of the kicker. “I’m just thrilled she is part of our program.”