Josh Lambo, the 2008 MLS SuperDraft first-round pick of FC Dallas, will be the starting kicker for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers when the Bolts kick off the 2015 season next Sunday.
Lambo, who never made a league appearance in his four seasons with FC Dallas (2008-2011), gave up goalkeeping at age 21 and enrolled at Texas A&M University, where we walked on as a member of the Aggies football team, in 2012. Lambo became A&M’s starting placekicker midway through the 2013 season, his second as a member of the program.
Lambo, now 24, went a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts during the Chargers’ recently completed preseason, in which the Lansing, Michigan, native nailed three kicks of over 40 yards and one from more than 50.
It’s actually pretty surprising that more life-long goalkeepers don’t make the goal-to-gridiron jump once it becomes clear a professional soccer career isn’t going to happen. As much time as goalkeepers spend booting a stationary ball up the field — doing so with specific direction and accuracy — you’d think those mechanics and skill would translate to placekicking extremely well.
The median base salary for starting kickers in the NFL was $875,000 in 2014, which is close to 10 times what most backup goalkeepers make in MLS.