BRAZOS COUNTY — There always needs to be a first, someone to pave the way for others to follow.
Marva Bailey was one of those trailblazers, pictured clearly as she stands with her soccer team in the A&M Consolidated High School's 1999 yearbook as the team's only Black member.
"I would have never imagined that I would be a piece of history like that, but here I am," Marva Bailey, class of 1999, A&M Consolidated High School said.
Bailey was the high school's first African American female soccer player, blazing the soccer field from 1995 to 1999. Bailey had the following sentiments to share, confirming with 25 News if she was shocked at the time of her trailblazing.
"Yes. I was, especially since we were already in the 1990s. It was shocking to me that I was the first African American," Bailey shared.
At the time, Bailey was also often the only African-American female during all of her old high school soccer tournament matches.
"There's about 18 players on a team, per team, and any given tournament, there will be about a hundred teams out there, and I would literally be the only one," Bailey said.
But she had parents who sacrificed for her, and a supportive coach who pushed her to carry her soccer career into college. She received a scholarship at Texas State University. Once more, as a team's, first, and only, African American female soccer player out there.
Bailey felt the most adversity when the team traveled, remembering times when bailey's coach would have to ask her to get back on the bus... even after a long ride there. Stating, he was just concerned for her safety out there playing due to her race.
"It's in moments like that, where you realize that you are the only one. You're the only one that looks like you. So, I got on that bus. But it was hurtful. And I understood my coach, but it was still hurtful," Bailey shared.
Despite it all, she thrived, starting in every game, and receiving several awards, even having her pictures on published brochures and calendars later on too.
"People would ask me for my autograph. because this was everywhere. This right here was everywhere. You could pull up to a gas station, get the calendar and it was right there." Bailey shared.
Reminding people, that being the first one, does not ever mean you have to hold back in life.
"Even in my difference, I could have stood back and not allowed myself forward, in all this, because I was the only one. But instead, I faced that challenge and walking in it, allowed my gifts and talents to make the room for me," Bailey said.
Bailey is now a performance coach and a U-I-L soccer coach, making room now for those trying to follow in her footsteps as their own respected firsts, right here, in College Station.