Fútbol to Football: Varsity soccer player becomes football kicker

He’s never played a down of football in his life, but now junior Ben Mayinger is the starting kicker on Lincoln High School’s varsity football team. Mayinger, who also plays varsity soccer, was sought out by athletic director Jeff Peeler for his kicking skills. He’s scheduled to make his debut against Madison at 7:30  tonight.

“Peeler just came up to me during school, a couple days before the Jefferson game, and asked me if I could kick a football,” Mayinger said. “Later that day I showed him what I could do and he invited me to play with the varsity team.”

Prior to this, Mayinger had only kicked a football a couple of times in his life, but he believes his soccer experience will benefit him in a large way in football.

“I’ve played soccer my whole life, but I’ve never thought about playing football until now. I know others were offered the opportunity as well, so I feel honored that I was chosen,” he said.

Mayinger has practiced with the team only a few times, but says that his teammates have been welcoming and made him feel like part of the team.

“It’s a great atmosphere. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m glad I get to play with these guys,” he said.” Some of them I already know, and I am excited to get to know the others. It’s a great group,”

Mayinger admits it’s a challenge to manage two varsity sports, and IB classes, but it’s worth it.

“I feel like playing football will be a very valuable experience for me, along with soccer and school. I feel like all this hard work and these experiences will help me out a lot later on in life. Also, another varsity letter on my transcript is a plus,” he said.

Mayinger will not only be the place kicker for LHS, but also starting punter. He is aware of all of pressure that is typically put on kickers in football. One missed kick can make you hated by some fans, he says, and one made kick can make you beloved. Along with the pressure of being a kicker, Mayinger also has to deal with the pressure from playing for the No. 1 high school soccer team in the state.

“I have a lot on my plate, but I know I can handle it,” said Mayinger.

“I’m definitely nervous for my first game, but am also very excited. I think once the game starts, and I calm my nerves, everything will be all right.”


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