PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Sixteen months in the past, school sports activities modified without end when the NCAA permitted a Identify, Picture and Likeness coverage that allowed student-athletes to become profitable on endorsement offers. Some of the unlikely candidates to make the most of the altering panorama is Amaya De La Cruz, a ladies’s rugby participant at Grand Canyon College.
“At any time when somebody hears that I play rugby, they’re at all times like, ‘you play rugby?’” says De La Cruz. “As a result of I nonetheless really feel like I’m type of a cheerleader on the skin.”
The GCU junior was a cheerleader from age 8-18. “I used to be on the sideline cheering on the soccer group, and I type of wished to be the one on the sphere like really, you understand, tackling folks and operating up and down and scoring factors and everybody’s cheering for you,” she says.
Now, De La Cruz is that individual. She’s one of many smallest gamers on the sphere, standing simply over 5 toes, 5 inches tall, however she thrives within the physically-demanding sport. “Final yr,” she recollects, “after the very best sort out I’ve ever made in my entire whole rugby profession, somebody hit their knees in my head. I cracked my head open and I needed to get staples put in. However all the things’s okay.”
GCU ladies’s rugby coach Lindsey Mahoney laughs when requested to explain De La Cruz. “Particularly her first season she got here into this system and I used to be like, ‘she performs rugby?!’ She was so small however she’s filled with coronary heart, she’s filled with character, she’s filled with power. She’s similar to a little bit gentle bulb.”
The little gentle bulb is now one of many Lopes’ leaders. De La Cruz was named to an all-tournament group within the spring and mentioned she’s felt empowered from the primary day she put cleats on. “As a woman, you don’t actually really feel like you’ll be able to sort out folks or hit folks or like give somebody a imply stiff arm,” says De La Cruz. “However I like had it for the primary time in that first follow. And I used to be like, ‘I really like this. I’ve been lacking out my entire life. Like, that is what I’m imagined to be doing.’”
De La Cruz shared this story of her 180 from cheer to rugby with Diploma deodorant. The model then picked her to be a part of its NIL Breaking Limits group. She was one among simply 22 student-athletes chosen nationwide and the one ladies’s rugby participant.
“I’m a very sturdy advocate for like, you’ll be able to actually do something if you happen to simply put your thoughts to it,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what dimension you might be, which form you might be, your expertise, if you happen to simply actually go in at 100%, like, you might break any boundary that there’s.”
She is breaking boundaries and limits in additional methods than one. De La Cruz can also be the primary GCU membership sport athlete to earn an envoy deal. “You hear on a regular basis, you understand, these NCAA enormous DI groups are getting sponsorships and all these cool alternatives however the truth that, you understand, me a membership athlete and a rugby participant — like these are two issues that nobody actually pays consideration to,” she says.
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