SHELBYVILLE (WCIA) — Vincent Thofte has played football for as long as he can remember, just not our kind of football. Before moving to the United States from Stockholm, Sweden this summer, the foreign exchange student didn’t know much about American football besides a few NFL names.
“(Patrick) Mahomes is pretty big and of course Tom Brady is probably one of the biggest names in American football,” Thofte said. “I knew a few players but not all of them.”
Now just two months into his year long stay in the States, Thofte is Shelbyville’s starting kicker.
“I didn’t expect to get on the team,” he said. “I expected them to have a kicker but they didn’t even have a kicker. I was like, ‘Oh great. I guess I’ll hope in and try my best.'”
“We had kind of done a whole tryout of everyone on the team,” Shelbyville head coach Bill Duckett said. “We just asked him if he wanted to kick and he said, ‘Sure.’ And he came out and kind of surprised us.”
Thofte has more than earned his spot, only missing one field goal in five games. The 17-year old’s soccer background is helping him in more ways than one.
“I learned probably at the age of 7 to kick with both feet,” Thofte said.
“He said, ‘I can’t kick with my right leg today,'” Duckett said. “I said, ‘Okay…’ Then he said, ‘I can kick with my left leg!’ Sure you can. He comes out and he’s kicking 40-yard field goals with his left leg.”
Thofte started his stay abroad in Mt. Carmel before moving to Shelbyville the first week of the high school football season. He’s now staying with defensive coordinator Brad Hilbert and his wife.
“He needed a place to stay and we had room and time,” Hilbert said. “I don’t know what kind of experience we’re going to be able to give him but I think he’s enjoying it and having fun.”
“He watches college football and NFL and all that,” said Thofte. “I’ll be down there in the living room and watch football with him trying to learn more about the game and ask him, ‘Oh what happened there’ and ‘What happened now.’ I’ve learned way more than I expected to actually.”
Ironically Shelbyville beat Meridian on a game winning field goal last year. And if the Friday Football Fever Spotlight Game of the Week once again comes down to the end, the Rams feel like they have the right guy for the job.