the study of the kicking components within sports

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

US Army All American Bowl: Specialist Beginnings

On January 8th, high school all-stars from across the nation will face off, east versus west, in the US Army All American Bowl. The kickers and punters have been selected in a joint effort by the National Camp Series, Kicking.com and Football University. The four specialists for this year's game are:
We recently spoke to all four players and asked them a couple questions regarding the beginnings of their kicking careers.

What is your earliest memory of kicking a ball (any kind of ball, not necessarily a football)?

Sade: "Kicking the soccer ball around with my two brothers."

Snyder: "My earliest memory of kicking a football started with soccer when I was about four. I played for about ten years."

Pruitt: "I can never remember a time when I was not kicking a soccer ball. I started playing soccer when I was two years old. We lived on the southern tip of Lake Michigan then, and one of my earliest memories was of my dad shoveling snow off a patch of the field so that my team could play a game."

Wile: "My first memory kicking a ball was while I was playing soccer. My team was down one goal with only ten or so minutes left in the game. I was the sweeper and I took the goal kicks for my team. They had just shot and missed, so I set up the ball for my goal kick. I remembered seeing one of my attack men down the field. I tried to kick the ball so that he'd have a one on one with the goalie. I ended up kicking the ball too hard and it went over the goalies head and bounced into the goal."

How did you end up becoming a kicker/punter?

Sade: "I started kicking because I had a very good shot in soccer and wanted to play football with all my friends."

Snyder: "When it came time for my middle school coach to find someone to kickoff, I was the sure candidate. Turns out I was pretty good at it. The special teams coach for Myers Park High was at one of my games and invited me to kick for him at the school the following season, and I've been kicking ever since."

Pruitt: "I played football in the 7th grade for the first time. In addition to playing linebacker, the coaches asked me to kick since I was a soccer player. I thought kicking fit me pretty well considering my background as a soccer goalkeeper. After junior high, I kicked for the 9th grade team and then for the varsity my sophomore and junior years, but continued to play competitive soccer as my primary sport. During and after my junior season, I started to get a lot of attention from colleges as a kicker. I decided to quit soccer and focus completely on kicking. At the time I made that decision, I was a member of the U-16 United States Soccer Federation National Team Development pool, and was being recruited to play college soccer."

Wile: "Ironically, my kicking career began from that goal I scored from defense. My dad thought that if I could kick a soccer ball that hard, why not have me kick a football? He and I went to Sport Chalet the next day, bought a ball and tee, and then went to Point Loma High School. My dad having watched football before told me that I should take three steps away from the ball and two steps to the left. He then said to kick the ball through the uprights. I went 30 for 30 on PATs and have been kicking ever since."

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