(CNN)A source of inspiration came in 2014.
In a historic move at the time, the NBA's San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon as an assistant coach. Katie Sowers took notice, posting on Twitter a picture of herself, saying, "Coming for the NFL."
Now, Sowers is making history herself, becoming the first woman and openly gay person to coach in a Super Bowl. Sowers is in her fourth season in the NFL and is an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers.
"She has done a hell of a job," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said to NBC Sports Bay Area.
In a prominent Microsoft Surface commercial, Sowers, now in her 30s, shared a letter she wrote to herself as a child.
"I hope someday I will be on a real football team," she said.
Later in the commercial, as a 49ers coach, she said, "I'm not just here to be the token female. I'm here to help us win."
Rejected because of her sexual orientation
Sowers was born in Hesston, Kansas, a community of roughly 3,800 people north of Wichita. She grew up playing football with her twin sister, Liz. The games were informal, backyard football with the boys.
"There was no question about playing or not playing," Liz Sowers told NBC Sports Bay Area. "It was just, we played. That's it."
Sowers attended Hesston College and then Goshen College in Indiana, graduating in 2009. She earned her master's degree in kinesiology from the University of Central Missouri in 2012.
At Goshen, which is affiliated with the Mennonite Church, Sowers competed in soccer, basketball and track and field. It was then when she came out to family and friends.
"When it came to me coming out to my parents, it was nothing but love and acceptance," Sowers told NBC Sports Bay Area.
When her collegiate playing days ended, Sowers asked about taking a position as a volunteer assistant coach on the Goshen women's basketball team. She said was turned down based on her sexual orientation.
"With coaching being my final destination, in terms of what I wanted to do, I thought it would be natural to ask if I could be a volunteer assistant coach, and my coach called me in and he said they have a lot of parents that have been worried about their daughter being around someone who is gay ... " Sowers said to NBC Sports Bay Area. "So that's not something that they would want around the team. So, he asked that I would not be around the team anymore.
"I was near tears. He gave me a hug and he said, 'It's nothing personal,' and I remember hugging him but being extremely upset. It was just something that I grieved about for a while, but I decided that I had to move on."
Goshen College president Rebecca Stoltzfus released a statement Wednesday, saying, "Sadly, in 2009, our policies and the laws of Indiana allowed for hiring decisions to consider sexual orientation. I am glad that Goshen College adopted a new non-discrimination policy in 2015, and I am thankful for the leaders before me who brought this change about, not the least of whom were our students and alumni."