RENTON – Football met futbol at the Seahawks’ training complex Friday morning.
And the results weren’t always pretty.
“Their kicking is painful to watch,’’ said Seattle kicker Steven Hauschka, after seeing teammates Doug Baldwin and K.J. Wright try to boot a soccer ball around under the guidance of a few members of the Tottenham Hotspur English Premier League team.
The three Seahawks and four members of Tottenham gathered for an hour or so at the VMAC on Friday for some lighthearted skills competitions in advance of Hotspur’s friendly Saturday against the Sounders at CenturyLink Field. Tottenham used the Seahawks facility for a practice Thursday.
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The seven players took turns seeing how the other half makes their living, sharing expertise along the way.
First, they tried field goals and other kicks indoors, Tottenham players putting on Seahawks helmets to get the full effect.
“Hey, how’d you get air under the ball?” said Wright, a Seahawks linebacker, after one of his kicks failed to catch full flight.
Later, the group headed outside, where Baldwin, a Seattle receiver, showed Tottenham striker Harry Kane a few pass routes and how to properly hold the ball after catching it.
The 20-year-old Kane was happy to report later he didn’t drop a pass.
“I’ve never run a pass pattern before, but I can catch the ball,” he said.
Kane, who calls himself a big NFL fan, said meeting the Seahawks was “a dream come true” even if he sheepishly admitted his favorite team is the Patriots.
The Seahawks were likewise intrigued. Baldwin and Wright said they have never played soccer but each said they enjoy the game.
Wright, in fact, was one of four Seahawks — Hauschka and linebackers Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan the others — who recently traveled to Brazil to see World Cup games. Wright said he became a soccer fan through playing the popular FIFA video game in college.
“I’ve been talking about going to the World Cup for about three years and me and Malcolm were always talking about it,” Wright said. “When it came we were like, ‘We’ve got to do it.’ It was a nice experience.”
Wright said he felt like he got the hang of kicking a soccer ball after a while.
“I was trying to learn how to curve the ball,” he said. “I was struggling with that. It’s an art. It’s tough.”
The meeting of the minds Friday was a particular highlight for Hauschka, who was a member of the soccer team at Middlebury College, a Division III school in Middlebury, Vt. He was later asked if he’d be interested in trying out to be the kicker of the football team.
Roughly a decade later, he found himself kicking for the Super Bowl champs.
Friday, though, bought back memories of the initial, uneven transition.
“It’s definitely different (kicking a football versus a soccer ball),” he said. “There is some natural talent that goes into it. But you’ve really got to hit it on a different part of your foot. A soccer ball, you can hit it down towards your toe. A football, you’ve got to hit it up higher on your foot. It took me a couple of years to get used to that.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org