the study of the kicking components within sports

Sunday, March 13, 2011

AFL Kickers - National, Central

Our four part preview of AFL kickers concludes with the Central Division of the National Conference. 

Chicago Rush, Chris Gould
  • Gould signing with the Rush in November 2009. Last year he was named the Arena Football League’s Kicker of the Year, setting team single-season records for scoring for a kicker (146), extra points made (113), extra points attempted (121) and consecutive PATs converted (35) in his first season with the team. In 2008 he played four 4 games for the Milwaukee Iron (af2)
  • He a four-year letterwinner (2004-07) at the University of Virginia, earning the job as the team’s punter late in his freshman year. He added the role of the team’s starting placekicker as a junior. He won the George Welsh Award as the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year as a senior.
  • Late last year Chris discussed the life of a kicker, "It’s definitely hard to keep going. We only make $400 a week, so a lot of guys have other jobs. Everybody is playing for a chance. You’re playing for the hope that somebody sees you, for a chance to get to the next level. In the [AFL], it’s more of a dire straits. It’s a great opportunity to get exposure, but if you don’t make it, there aren’t any other places to play.... If you’re going to do something as specialized as kicking, you can’t have any doubts in your mind. You have to believe in yourself fully. With all the ups and downs I’ve had, if I didn’t believe in what I was doing, I would give up right away. It’s a hard, long process, and a lot of people don’t get in until they’re 26 or 27 or they let their opportunity pass them by because they weren’t ready, because they had taken a full-time job and weren’t in great shape. I’ll be ready."
Dallas Vigilantes, Remy Hamilton
  • As one of the most prolific kickers in Arena Football League (AFL) history, Hamilton is the all-time point leader in the AFL. Remy also played in the ational Football League (NFL) with the Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahwaks.
  • He attended the University of Michigan, where he was a 1st team All-Big Ten selection and a two time Lou Groza Award finalist. He holds numerous records at Michigan and remains the only kicker in school history to earn All-American honors.
  • In high school, Hamilton played as a kicker and at quarterback, as he discussed way back in 1991, "After we make a big play on offense and we get pumped up and we have to kick the ball, it affects my kicking a little because I get tired.... Quarterback is fun, but I think kicking is what`s going to get me somewhere. I`d rather go to a Division I school and kick."
Iowa Barnstormers, Piotr Czech
  • In 2010 Czech signed with the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers and was released at the end of training camp. In 2009 he signed with the UFL New York Sentinels and NFL Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2008 he signed as an undrafted free agent with the NFL Baltimore Ravens and was later released.
  • During his senior year at Wagner College he recorded 64 punts for a career-high of 2573 yards during the year along with making 16 of 19 field goals attempts and a career-high 75 points. Earned first team All-NEC honors as a kicker and second-team honors at punter along with being a four year letterman. As a junior he received Don Hansen's Gazette All-American honors.
  • Czech made the transition from soccer to football during his junior year in high school, "Kicking a soccer ball and a football are two totally different things. Kicking a soccer ball was second nature to me because I had been doing it all my life. Coming into football, I had a lot to learn. There is a lot of technique involved. The transition is hard; a lot of soccer players try it and can’t do it."
Kansas City Command, Mike Salerno
  • Salerno played six games in 2010 with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz
  • During his senior year at Northern Illinois University: field goals 19-24, 2nd Team All Conference MAC, Lou Groza Award nominee, 63.9 yard kickoff average with 10 touchbacks, career long punt of 67 yards vs. Akron
  • During his junior year he hits a career-long 52-yarder that tied the school record for the longest field goal
  • Salerno discussed his preparation for his senior year in college, "Last year went well and I'm just looking to step up and hopefully cut down the misses to as low as possible. That's why I spent the whole summer here, working out with the team. I had a special running program going, more specifically geared toward the kicking game to help me out. I worked with Nolan (Owen), our snapper, and Ryan Morris, who is holding for me. That way we have more of a mesh."
Tulsa Talons, Juan Bongarra
  • Last year Bongarra was named SIFL Special Teams Player of the Week three times in the first five weeks with the Louisiana Swashbucklers
  • Senior year at Albany State University: named HSRN National Player of the Week after hitting field goals on the final play of regualtion to tie the game and the winner in OT in win over Clark Atlanta; named second team kicker SIAC Football All-Conference
  • Last spring Bongarra discussed the SIFL experience, "This (league) should be easy for a kicker. And I like the game. It is so much faster. In arena football everything is pop, pop, pop. You’re scoring right away. But the field goals and extra points are easier, because you don’t get as big of a rush as you do in (football).... Before, I never saw myself playing this game, but I’m real happy this worked out."

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