A person might be startled to see a player leaving early from Helias football practice. One might think something bad had happened to him. But this is a normal occurrence for player Sam Heckart. He is leaving for his second practice of the day with the Crusader soccer team. Heckart is a rare breed: a fall two sport athlete.
Heckarts says that he only spends about 30 minutes at football practice, “mostly kicking by myself.” He then rushes straight to soccer practice to take the pitch. This multi-sport madness goes back to 7th grade.
“I played both football and soccer so I decided to try kicking a football,” explained Heckart. “BOOM! I drilled it and easily made the field goal. So that’s when it hit me.”
He was convinced by friends to go out for football as the kicker and he was elated when he once again got the opportunity to play both sports.
“Football and soccer are so different, but I love them both very much,” said Heckart. “Football is much louder than soccer. The only noise you really hear in soccer comes from the players on the field. Soccer also has much more constant action.”
The differences don’t stop there. Heckart says that missing a field goal is much worse than missing a goal in soccer.
“You get many more opportunities to score in soccer. In football, the kicker is a hero if he makes it and the bad guy if he misses,” said Heckart.
“It really shocks me when people call kickers non-athletes. The leg power and the balance involved are insane,” added Heckart. “People just don’t realize that.”
Heckart’s busy schedule may make one wonder why anyone would play two sports in the same season. Heckart claims that, first of all, he loves both sports.
“But also,” Heckart said, “I watch college and pro kickers on TV and I think that with some hard work that could be me.”