It only lasted a few seconds, fast enough to distract you from an untimely slice of pizza or a handful of chips, but messages flooded Bella Rasmussen’s phone at Laguna Beach High.
They basically said the same thing: “Did I just see you in a Super Bowl commercial?”
For a whole month she sat in secret. Since Rasmussen became the first girl in state history to score two touchdowns in a game last October, local history has become national and her life has been a roller coaster ride.
She secured representation to exploit the possibilities of name, image and likeness, and in January she was invited to film the Super Bowl. commercial sponsored by the NFL on the rise of women’s flag football, appears in the frame to run alongside Diana Flores, defender the Mexican team.
Rasmussen was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. When the commercial aired at halftime, she was at the Super Bowl in Arizona without any favors. When she got a few bars, she was stunned.
“For me, it’s just crazy that people literally all over the world saw this,” Rasmussen said by phone.
The growth of girls’ and women’s flag football was explosive, marked by the CIF’s vote to approve it as a spring sport, and Rasmussen was at the forefront in Southern California. And the theme of the video – Flores, and later Rasmussen running away to evade the crowd of people – fits.
According to Rasmussen, when she was 6 years old and started playing football, men started yelling at her. Curse her. Tell her she shouldn’t be on the field.
She speaks with an eloquence and self-confidence that few high school students have.
“I felt like I matured very early,” said Rasmussen, who is now a high school student. “Because most of the time when I went to the football field, I sincerely wished that I was there.”
According to Rasmussen, her experience at Laguna Beach was revolutionary. For the first time, she felt that she had 10 people on her side to fight with, not against. Ever since the day before the Super Bowl, when her agent announced the commercial for her, she’s been reflecting on the persistence of that 6-year-old teenage girl now running with a soccer ball in her hand across the screens of millions.
“This is important not only for me, but for girls in football in general,” said Rasmussen.