‘It’s a huge advantage’: Could soccer skills help decide the Super Bowl?


Harrison Butker, who was a soccer player in high school, kicked the decisive field goal in last year’s Super Bowl. Photograph: Perry Knotts/Getty Images

On Sunday in Las Vegas, Harrison Butker will suit up alongside Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Co in Super Bowl LVIII and attempt to claim a third championship in five years for the Kansas City Chiefs.

And if the 28-year-old kicker is as accurate in this Super Bowl as he was in his previous three – in which he has made a combined five out of six field goals, including the game-winner in last year’s edition – his success, he believes, will in part be due to his past as a high-school soccer standout.

“My first sport was soccer,” Butker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2020. “I loved playing soccer. I wanted to be a professional soccer player in England, playing the Premier League.

“For me as a kicker, one initial thing in soccer, during the flow of the game, you’re having to kick the ball to your target at a weird angle. It’s not like in football during a field goal when you take your steps and have everything lined up.

“So back to football … sometimes you might get a bad hold; you might trip or mess up your steps, and you must be an athlete and make the kick … having the soccer background as an athlete [you have to] be confident that you’re still going to get good contact and hit a good ball.”

Related: What the NFL’s final four can teach the rest of the league

And Butker is far from alone as an outstanding NFL kicker whose athletic experience began with soccer. The Dallas Cowboys’ season ended in ignominy, with a shock 48-32 home loss to the Green Bay Packers in the wildcard round of the playoffs, but if there is one Cowboy who can be satisfied with his work this past year, it’s kicker Brandon Aubrey.

The 28-year-old rookie finished the regular season with a 94.7% success rate on field goals. He also set an NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made to start a…


Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/huge-advantage-could-soccer-skills-090010202.html

Author : The Guardian

Publish date : 2024-02-05 09:00:10

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