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A former football and fútbol star

BY ROBBIE LEHMAN | NOVEMBER 05, 2009 7:20 AM

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Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Moran has been making saves and recording shutouts for the Iowa soccer team for the last two seasons.

Not too long ago, she was also kicking field goals and extra points for the Theodore Roosevelt High School football team in Kent, Ohio.

During Moran’s freshman year, her brother, Justin, casually mentioned her kicking for the football team because she was so skilled at kicking a soccer ball.

“I thought, ‘Well, maybe I might try it,’ ” she said. “He didn’t think I would actually do it. But sophomore year, football season came around, and I was like, ‘I’m actually going to try out.’ I did and actually made the varsity.”

From there, she earned three varsity letters in football for the Rough Riders, including first team all-league and first team all-district distinctions, as well as an all-state honorable mention.

Moran has made 156 saves in her young career at Iowa, including six shutouts this season and a streak of 409-consecutive scoreless minutes in goal for the Hawkeyes. As for the getting used to kicking a football, though, she made the transition seamlessly.

“It’s not too much different,” Moran said. “The foot positioning is a little bit different to be able to hit the right part of a ball for a football. A soccer ball, it’s round of course, so you can pretty much hit the center a little bit easier than a football.”

Of course, the first thing she is asked after telling people she played high- school football is about being the only girl on a traditionally all-boys team.

“I loved being around the guys,” said Moran, who used a training room as her own personal locker room to change in. “I knew most of them anyway, so being on the team with them was awesome.”

Fellow Iowa goalkeeper Kali Feiereisel said she knew about Moran’s football prowess. Feiereisel said she never thought of being a football kicker, but she can see how the position could translate to the soccer field.

“I’ve never really messed around with it,” she said. “I bet it was good for getting her kicks a longer distance. It’s the same type of mechanics. I’m sure it helped in some aspects, like strength for her legs. It definitely wouldn’t hurt her at all, doing repetitions with kicking a football.”

Iowa head coach Ron Rainey also knew Moran’s football history when he recruited her, and she wasn’t the first of his players possessing a gridiron background.

“We have had a couple of players do this in high school,” Rainey said. “I think it is great the coaches at her school searched out the best placekicker to help their team win games.”

Never a punter, injury wasn’t a concern for Moran, who said she shied away from contact and was protected well by her male teammates.

“Our coaches were pretty good at keeping me out of any kind of harm’s way,” she said. “My [offensive] line was amazing, and on kickoffs, I never got close to the action.”

With soccer being her main focus, Moran, rated the nation’s No. 132 best recruit in 2008 according to SoccerBuzz Magazine, saw the opportunity more as an advantage to keep her kicking leg in shape throughout the year.

“I think my soccer helped my football more than my football helped my soccer,” Moran said.


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