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.
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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.
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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.
Josh Lambo spent four seasons at FC Dallas after being selected in the first round of the 2008 MLS draft (not long after MLS names like Brek Shea, Chance Myers, Tony Beltran and Sean Franklin).
When the club didn’t renew his contract, Lambo took some of that Generation Adidas money and got himself in school. Now his educational quest is Texas A&M’s gain.
Lambo was elevated to starting kicker for the country’s No. 10 football team. (Lambo’s move from one “football” to the other is not news; the news here is that he has become the starter.)
When A&M’s starting kicker struggled last week, Lambo came in to kick an extra point and a 40-yard field goal. Saturday, he was the team’s starting kicker as A&M began its conference season at Arkansas.
Lambo isn’t the first former MLS man to go from pro soccer player to collegiate field goal kicker. Devin Barclay spent four years in MLS with Tampa Bay, San Jose, D.C. United and Columbus between 2001-2005. He appeared in 23 games during that time.
Barclay later walked on at Ohio State and became the team’s starting kicker in 2009. A game-winning field goal later that year helped the Buckeyes earn a spot in the Rose Bowl.