Penn State goalkeeper Micah Collins only meant to have some fun with his friends when he made and posted a video online of him kicking field goals in Holuba Hall.
Despite this wish, the recording went viral within the Penn State community Monday morning.
“It was intended for my friends, and they all liked it, but I didn’t realize it was going to get as big as it did,” Collins said.
The video, which was posted on YouTube by Collins on Sept. 29, had a little more than 900 views on Sunday night, but skyrocketed to more than 3,500 by time it was removed from the site Monday afternoon.
The popularity of the video around State College sparked conversations online that included talks of a football tryout and negative feelings toward current Penn State placekicker Sam Ficken.
“I didn’t like when I saw people saying stuff about [Sam] Ficken, because I know he’s in a tough situation,” said Collins, who served as his high school’s placekicker for three years and said he received interest from Division I football programs, such as Cincinnati. “Kicking in an indoor facility with no pressure is a lot easier than kicking on primetime TV… so I feel like it was undeserved and I didn’t mean to do that through my video.”
After realizing some of the responses and letting the video sink in, Penn State men’s soccer coach Bob Warming echoed his player’s sentiments.
“We’re all one team, and we’re all brothers in this thing, and more than ever before our athletic department is so united… and we would never, ever do anything that would make people think otherwise,” Warming said.
Warming also said Collins has tried out for the Penn State football team in years past, but to no avail.
However, the coach believes that people who think it would be easy to make the team, regardless of skill, should slow down a bit.
“Let me put it this way. I can make a penalty kick probably 10 out of 10 times if I’m just standing out here, but put me in front of 100,000 people and I’m not making too many of them,” Warming said.
“There’s a big difference performing with skill and performing when everything is on the line… so I don’t know,” the coach said when asked how Collins would do in a football tryout.
The video post showed Collins kicking field goals inside the practice facility from distances as long as 45 and 50 yards.
Considering he’s a Division I goalkeeper, it is assumed that Collins would have premier leg strength.
Collins, who attended Susquehannock High School, not only was a soccer star, but he also was a three-year starting placekicker and punter for the varsity football team, even though the two sports conflicted in the same season.
“I did soccer primarily and then the football coach worked it around my soccer schedule so I could come and he would schedule special teams and stuff after my soccer practice… The coaches were pretty accepting of me during both,” the goalkeeper said.
Flipping back and forth between sports, one concern had to be adjusting to different methods of kicking, although the two styles have become more similar over the years.
In today’s football, almost all placekickers are “soccer-style”, which means they approach the ball from an angle and strike the ball on the inside part of their foot.
Placekickers previously approached kicks with a “straight on” style that required a special, rigid shoe that normally had metal in the front of the cleat.
However, Collins still had to focus on subtle nuances and distinctions between the two methods.
“I enjoyed it. It’s definitely different kicking a soccer ball and kicking a football. I would have to spend more time prior to soccer games and prior to football games to get that technique back,” Collins said.
Despite the differences, the standout still flourished in football, earning all-county honors as a junior in 2007 when his team went 5-1 in league play.
Collins said the team’s successes his junior year gave him more opportunities to score, and the longest field goal he tried in high school was a 43-yard attempt.
Despite receiving interest to kick in college, the multi-sport athlete chose to play soccer in college over any potential football endeavors.
“I feel like [soccer’s] something I’ve been doing my whole life,” Collins said. “I didn’t pick up football until I was in high school, and I just love soccer.”