Oct. 15, 2005
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When Josh Huston was a junior in high school, his football team needed a kicker. Huston, however, did not want the position, since he was a soccer player.
Huston thrived in the sport and was serious about it. He eventually out-grew the local club team and he and his family decided that playing for a premiere travel team was right up Huston’s alley. Since there was no such team near his hometown of Findlay, Ohio, the team he ended up playing for was in Cleveland, roughly a two-hour drive.
Driving to Cleveland three times a week, if not more, made Huston realize soccer was not just an activity to pass the time for him. He began to grow more serious about the sport. By the time he entered Findlay High School, he had decided he wanted to play soccer throughout high school and into college.
Huston’s junior year rolled around and his desire to play soccer in college was stronger than ever. So when the football team’s coach, Cliff Hite, a friend of Huston’s family, asked him if he was interested in filling the vacancy at kicker on his team, Huston’s first instinct was to decline.
“Our high school coach was friend of the family,” Huston said. “He knew I took all the free kicks in soccer and had a pretty good leg. He said, `Why don’t you play football?’ I told him `No, I’m a soccer guy and I’m trying to go to college for that.'”
Hite continued to prod the high school junior into playing for the team and eventually arranged it so Huston could have the best of both worlds. “Literally, I would go play soccer and the last five minutes of practice I would go over and kick a few field goals,” Huston said.
Kicking for the football team was something to pass the time more then anything else. Huston’s priority was still on going to college playing soccer. So when he looked in the paper and discovered he had been named first team All-Ohio for his kicking game, he was a little surprised.
Following his junior season, not only were recruiting letters arriving from college soccer coaches, but they also were coming from college football coaches. The return addresses on the letters were surprising in their own right.
“I started getting letters from Notre Dame, Florida State, Ohio State; all these places, and it kind of took me back a step,” Huston said. “It was still kind of far away for me to realistically start thinking about college. I hadn’t taken my ACTs or done any of that stuff. So it was just cool. It was more cool than anything.”
Of specific excitement was the interest from Ohio State.
“I was so excited, because I always watched the Ohio State football team,” Huston said. “I was never wishing “I hope that’s where I go to school and play football,” because I wasn’t a football player. But I loved football and I loved watching those guys, so I was taken aback by the whole thing.”
When Huston’s senior year arrived, and he still continued to play both soccer and football for Findlay. However, his priorities had shifted. Instead of kicking field goals for the last five minutes of practice, Huston began kicking routinely. His dad, Denny Huston, who had played football throughout high school and a few years in college, was not really surprised when Huston decided to switch gears.
“When Josh came to me and said `I think I want to play football in college,’ I wasn’t that surprised,” Denny said. “When it came down to playing in front of 100,000 people or 1,000 people at games, I think there was no question.”
When Ohio State offered Huston the chance to play for the Buckeyes, a team he had watched for years, he immedietly jumped at the chance. Since joining the Buckeyes, Huston has not played much soccer because of the risk of injury. He really has not missed it either. Football and class work have kept him busy. Huston graduated this spring with a major in marketing and has returned to earn a second degree in psychology.
“I don’t know if I’ll miss soccer at some point,” Huston said. “I’m sure when I’m done with football and everything I’ll think about it. I don’t know if I’ll miss it, though. I guess we’ll see.”