Buccaneers grant scholarships to women pursuing careers in sports

Through hard work and perseverance, a Bay Area teenager has won a sports scholarship from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Shivanie Ghansiam is staying in shape and ready. She's in the women's flag football club at the University of Florida.

"To me, because I like playing flag football so much, it's really easy, because I have a passion for it," she said. "I'm just out there having fun, really enjoying myself."

As a young girl, Shivanie always had a passion for sports.  

"In elementary and middle school, I was the only girl on the field playing football with the boys. Now I think back at it, it's the first true memory for football for me," she recalled.

Shivanie was on the Lakewood Ranch High School girls' flag football team. As a sophomore, she played on the boys' team. 

"To go against guys twice my size, it was tough at times. But my persistence and determination, I kept going forward," she said.

All of Shivanie's hard work paid off.  She just won the 2021 Buccaneers Girls in Football scholarship. 

"I was completely shocked and it was an amazing feeling, like a broken record every time I talk about it but I'm just filled with gratitude, appreciation for the Buccaneers," she said.

The scholarships are given to graduating senior female football players who want to pursue a career in sports.  

"We're trying to grow the game of football, especially with girls. And we have the largest flag football tournament for girls in the nation," said Tara Battiato, vice president of Community Impact for the Buccaneers.

This is the second year for the national scholarship.

"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation has made a quarter of a million dollars commitment for The Girls in Football Scholarship," added Tara. 

The candidates had to write an essay, have a 3.0 GPA, and explain how their future career would impact sports. 

"We are very serious about women in sports. We're serious about providing opportunities for all qualified individuals in growing the game of football," Tara explained. 

Shivanie is pursuing her dream of playing college flag football and one day hopes to be involved in the NFL.

Each scholarship winner is given $5,000 to enroll full-time in a four-year college or university and pursue a career in sports.