A local student-athlete is looking forward to the opportunity to represent his school and family on the national stage.
New Waverly junior kicker Adrian Zamudio recently secured his invitation to Kicking World’s invite-only national showcase in Austin, scheduled for December 5-6. Zamudio’s invitation followed an impressive showing at a Kicking World event in Pearland last weekend, during which he connected on all of his kicks up to 50 yards.
“I hope I do really well on my performance and get noticed,” Adrian said. “Just show out there and represent my family and my school.”
“We weren't expecting it at all,” added Sonia, Adrian’s mother. “Very few get selected.”
An avid soccer player since he was four, Adrian has only been playing football for three years. However, he’s quickly developed a knack for the sport, and has hopes to continue playing beyond high school.
“You don't run across it very often in your coaching career to have a really good kicker like this — and not many kickers go on to college, because each team might only have three,” New Waverly head coach Dean Schaub said. “It's very hard to do, but Adrian definitely has that wow factor. I've talked to a couple schools that are interested in the way he kicks, so it's exciting for him.
“Adrian does soccer year-round, and after soccer he'll come up here and kick the ball until dark. He does a lot of it on his own, which makes you feel good as a coach to see.”
“I've always been a soccer mom,” Sonia added. “Adrian has played since he was four, then just got into football. He was on varsity as a freshman and it's thrilling to see how much he's grown in such a short period of time.”
Adrian — a captain on New Waverly’s soccer team — notes that his experience playing another sport has not only helped him develop a strong kicking leg, but also helped prepare him to perform in clutch situations.
“It's those under-pressure moments,” he said. “You just have to take a deep breath and go do it.”
Schaub has noticed Adrian improve each year, from taking up the sport in middle school to becoming an instant contributor at the varsity level.
“Adrian has been a huge weapon for us on special teams,” the coach said. “He kicked very well as a junior high kid, and his leg has gotten stronger every year. He's good at putting the ball wherever we want, and he told me the other day that he's probably kicking it out of the end zone at this point.
“I couldn't be happier to have a good, strong kicker, because if the game's on the line, I have no problem putting Adrian in to win it by a point or two. He's a huge weapon we have and I'm excited he's only a junior.”
With two seasons left in his high school career, Adrian says he has placed an emphasis on “getting stronger, working on technique and focusing on school.” He’s also shown a daily commitment necessary to honing his craft, and one day reaching his goals.
“I've been going out to the high school every day to practice my kicks, and staying focused on the things I have the potential to do,” Adrian added. “The offseason is the most important part. You have to work hard and make those goals happen.”