With two touchdowns in a game, an NIL deal, and college coming in the fall, Bella Rasmussen has quite a future ahead of her.
Before barreling into the end zone, Bella Rasmussen had only one thing on her mind.
“I remember we were like three or four yards from the end zone and [coach] called the run play,” she said. “And I remember getting in my stance and telling myself, literally speaking out loud. I was like, ‘I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.'”
Before that handoff, Rasmussen was a seemingly ordinary senior at Laguna Beach High School — aside from being a girl playing tackle football, of course.
“When I finally stepped in the end zone, it was kind of weird because as I was running it literally felt like the whole world went quiet and all I could see was the gap. That was something that I hadn’t experienced before on the football field and was just really surreal for me. When I finally got in the end zone, it was like somebody turned up the volume knob.”
And that was only the first touchdown she would score that night.
By punching in another TD, Rasmussen wrote herself into California’s history books, becoming the first female to score twice in one game. The accolade ended up thrusting the teenage tailback into the national spotlight, leading to a new level of fame that Rasmussen admits she wasn’t quite ready for.
“It’s been insane,” she said.
The 17-year-old football player recently sat down with Boardroom for an exclusive interview to talk about what happened on that record-setting night, why she loves football, and what she plans to do with the money she’s earned as the first female football player to sign a name, images, and likeness deal with a brand.
But first, let’s go back to that night in October when it all changed.
Oct. 14, 2022: Bella Rasmussen Arrives
Before the game even started that night, Rasmussen knew that if something was going to happen it would have to happen then.
“I kept thinking if I’m going to score it has to be tonight,” Rasmussen recalls of that matchup against Godinez Fundamental High School. “We were going into the playoffs and I didn’t know if I would get this chance again.”
And as fate would have it, Rasmussen’s night would indeed end up being one to remember.
“When I went to bed that night, I literally had no idea and I still have no idea. Even today I’m like, how did that turn into what it is now?” she said. “I feel like my life went from being so private to now everybody knows what’s going on all the time. I’ve met so many new people and had celebrities reach out to me that I never would’ve imagined ever hearing from.”
What happened next has been a whirlwind — we’re talking appearances on The Today Show, the Jennifer Hudson Show, Access Hollywood and she even fired off a cannon ahead of the Chargers–Seahawks game on Oct. 23.
And in addition to a turn in the spotlight, Rasmussen has also received significant interest from brands looking to leverage her name, image, and likeness.
Making NIL History
Not long after her big game, Rasmussen said she started getting interest from brands that not only wanted to send her swag, but also do promotions.
“Who doesn’t like free stuff?” she asked.
But it wasn’t until she signed with an agent — Michael Ehrlich, Head of Athlete Engagement at MarketPryce — that it became clear just how many opportunities were really out there. Ehrlich also contributes to Boardroom as a freelance writer.
“Bella and her family were not versed in all things NIL, but they had a clear vision for how they wanted to engage authentically within the space,” Ehrlich said. “After a deep dive on what is most important to their family, mental wellness and health was the obvious path to explore.”
And this brings us to today. Rasmussen has decided to sign an NIL deal with KeyWise AI to help promote the KeyWise Skye app, which acts as a fitness tracker for your brain.
“What I really liked about Keywise was their goals and their stories,” she said. “It wasn’t just to make money, it wasn’t just to make a profit and sell something… but it was because they actually care about mental health and they care about the wellness of the people around them.”
The long-term partnership with KeyWise AI, which she announced during a live interview on NBC Access Hollywood’s “Access Daily” show with Mario Lopez and Kit Hoover, means Rasmussen will lead the charge for mental health awareness for the brand, demonstrating how the app can help others.
“That’s something that I value a lot in my life and I like to see the people around me doing well, mentally and emotionally, because that’s not something that’s talked about a lot,” she said. “It needs to be fixed, but no one really offers a lot of options, especially options that don’t cost you an arm and a leg to fix. And I really like the App because I feel like it’s such a simple way for people to help themselves.”
And with her new deal comes reported earnings of around $18,400, which Rasmussen admits is a new concept for her. She says she will try and reinvest some of that in charities with similar causes.
“I think that a huge way that I can give back is to take some of the money that I’m earning and put it into charities and donate it to people who really are struggling and really need it,” she said. “I would really like to take the money and give it back to people because it’s these same people that are putting me on this platform.”
What’s Next for Bella Rasmussen?
As for what’s on the horizon, Rasmussen knows for sure she will be heading to college and studying psychology in the fall. But where isn’t exactly clear just yet — her list of potential schools includes Oregon, Utah, Vanderbilt, Michigan, and Colorado.
Outside of her education, Rasmussen said she hopes to continue to use her platform for good. She also hopes to explore new business opportunities as well.
“I would love to be a business owner,” she said. “I would love to start something that I could grow, make money and give back.”
And when she’s asked what kind of advice she’d give to young ladies that are now looking up to her as a role model, Rasmussen isn’t shy about how she has overcome the many challenges in her life — both on and off the football field.
“It doesn’t matter what it is, but there’s gonna be so many people that are gonna hate what you do,” she said. “They’re not gonna support you. They’re gonna tell you you can’t do it, you’re not good enough, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been told that since I was a little kid. At the end of the day, the only person who’s always going to be there for you is you. Don’t let other people’s opinions affect the choices that you make and the goals you set in motion because if you believe you can do it, it can happen.”
“I feel like I’m kind of walking through that right now.”
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