Some of Callie Brownson's earliest memories are Saturday afternoons with her dad watching the University of Miami Hurricanes play football.

Those players were her childhood heroes. She even collected their football cards.

"I was intertwined, I loved it," she recalled. "Instantly."

She played youth football, but in the fall of 2004 when she tried to join her high school team in northern Virginia, she was told no.

They wouldn't even let her try out but said maybe she could come on as a kicker.

"Nothing against kickers, but I wanted to play. I wanted to hit people," she said. "I wanted to be a part of every facet of it."

Before her senior year, Brownson tried one last time to convince the football coach to give her a shot.

"I said, 'Listen, I'm going into senior year. I'm trying out this year. ... I don't care if you ever put me on the field, I'm going to be on the football team,'" she said. "And he just kind of laughed at me."

Even though she never got to play in high school, Brownson didn't give up.

She played free safety, wide receiver and running back for the D.C. Divas of the Women's Football Alliance from 2010 to 2017, and won two world championships with Team USA Women's Football. Brownson also spent three seasons coaching high school football and interned last year with the New York Jets.

This summer, she took a coaching gig at the Manning Passing Academy, a prestigious football clinic.

This was the first year the academy admitted female players.

Buddy Teevens, who oversees coaches at the academy, wanted to recruit women to work with those players. He hired Brownson and she stood out immediately.

"Of the people on the field, Callie had really struck me as highly, highly organized, passionate about what she was doing. She was very, very meticulous in terms of the practice plan ... and she was very confident," he said.

Teevens is also the head coach at Dartmouth College. He invited Brownson to intern with the Big Green during the preseason. And after seeing how well she clicked with everyone, he made a special announcement that the team captured on video: He hired her as the offensive quality control coach.

It's an entry-level job, but she's the first woman to do it at this level, and Teevens said she's proven she deserved the spot.

"She's played more football than a lot of people that are coaching in the NFL or at the college level. And to me, that's relevant," he said. "She understands the sport."

On the field at Dartmouth, Brownson is everywhere at once. Whether it's helping special teams, taking part in drills with the wide receivers, or getting the scout team defense set up, she's always on the move.

Like a true players coach, she cracks jokes with the team, cheering when they do well and correcting them when they need it. Junior wide receiver Brandon Hester said players knew right away they wanted her to stick around and encouraged Coach Teevens to make the hire.

"Immediately we know we couldn't see ourselves without her at practice every single day just because of the energy and passion that she brought to the game," Hester said.

Brownson loves football, and she wants more girls and women to be accepted in the game, as she finally has.

Lisa Markland at Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society said Brownson's hiring will open the door for more women to get in the game.

"Maybe where she so courageously and boldly has stepped into this arena, it's going to allow for others to say, 'Let me try, too,'" Markland said.

And while she's proud to be the first woman who's a full-time Division I football coach, Brownson's bigger focus is on not being the last.

"All this time we've thought that women didn't have a place in football. Well they do. That, to me, is the headline that's more important than, 'Oh, the first female.' Like, ok, that's cool, but is it worth it?" she said. "Is it actually going to evoke change? Then that's the part that, to me, is the one that should be focused on."

But for right now, Brownson's going to do everything she can to help Dartmouth win an Ivy League title.