September 8, 2010 11:44:00 AM
It isn''t hard to distinguish between Will Goodwin and the other students at Itawamba Community College.
The freshman from Starkville Academy is the one being chauffeured in a golf cart across the Fulton campus from football practice to soccer practice.
Goodwin is the lone kicker on Coach Jon Williams'' football team and a forward on Coach Mike Sullivan''s soccer team, and being escorted on a golf cart makes it easier for him to get to both team''s practices.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound two-sport athlete usually begins a busy afternoon on the football practice field before being carted to soccer practice.
"It''s tough, but the coaches work real well together and I''m able to play both sports," Goodwin said. "Usually we start football practice a little earlier than soccer and coach (Williams) will schedule the majority of special teams practice at the beginning of practice. I''ll dress out for football first and as soon as I get done with special teams they''ll take me in a golf cart to soccer practice and I''ll change real quick, and by the time I get to soccer all they''ll have done is take a warmup lap and stretched a little bit and I''ll already have been warmed up. It works out real well."
But once Goodwin dresses out for soccer, it doesn''t mean he''s there for the duration of practice. The football team usually schedules another special teams session in the middle of practice and Goodwin is summoned via the golf cart.
"We always know when we see a golf cart driving up to the soccer field, it''s like, ''We''ve got to get somebody in there for Will because he''s going to be gone for about 15 to 20 minutes,''" Sullivan said. "We worked that out. I asked the football coach if we could do that because in the beginning we just had Will running back and forth across campus and I was like, ''Man we''re going to wear this kid out if we don''t give him a little easier way to get back and forth from where he''s going.'' I''m glad we''ve got the golf cart now. That makes Will''s travels a little easie."
Sullivan said it actually works out well when Goodwin leaves soccer practice to go back to football practice.
"In some ways when we''re working on something, that just gives me a chance to use somebody that''s his backup," Sullivan said. "It kind of gives somebody else more time in a practice setting when he is gone. It hasn''t been a problem and I don''t forsee it being a problem. He gets his work done for football and he gets all the work we need him to do done. Me and the football coach, Jon Williams, have a good relationship. It''s good that we can kind of do this. It benefits both teams here at ICC."
Williams is in his first season as the head football coach at ICC and he and Sullivan have learned to work well together to make sure that Goodwin has ample practice time with both teams.
It''s not rare to see a two-sport athlete in college sports, but it''s unusual seeing an athlete play two sports at the same time and having to be at two different practices at the same time.
"It''s kind of a unique situation," Williams said. "We have a manager assigned to watch the schedule. When it comes to kicking portion of practice we send for Will in a golf cart. We drive to the soccer field and pick him up and Coach Sullivan is great about understanding that it''s time for us to get him. We''ll get him for 10 to 15 minutes maybe in the middle of practice and then we take him back to soccer practice when we''re done with that segment. We may go get him back and forth and get him twice through the portion of practice."
While the football and soccer teams have conflicting practice schedules, there''s only one occasion when they play games on the same day. The conflicting day will be Oct. 9 when the football team hosts Coahoma Community College for homecoming and the soccer team travels to Jackson, Tenn., to play Union University.
Since he''s the only kicker, Goodwin will stay home with the football team that day.
"The coaches have already talked about it," Goodwin said. "Coach Sullivan is going to release me and let me play football that day. I''m the only kicker and it''s not a division game so it''s not an important game in soccer. It''s more just like a practice game."
Goodwin says he enjoys playing both sports at the same time. He played football and soccer at Starkville Academy, but the sports were played at different times of the year.
The football and soccer teams are in the early stages of the season and Goodwin has contributed in both sports thus far.
In the football team''s season-opening 52-31 loss to Hinds Community College, Goodwin did his part by making all four of his extra point attempts and kicking a 28-yard field goal with 14:49 remaining in the game that pulled the Indians to within 36-31.
"It was a real awesome experience," Goodwin said. "Getting ready for the season during the summer I didn''t think I''d be kicking the field goals, but then we had our other kicker quit the team. The responsibility was put on me. Going into that first game and kicking those extra points and that field goal was a real good experience. I was a little worried before hand how well I was going to kick, but I got out there and it was no problem. I mean my adrenalin got going and I wasn''t worried about it. It was definitely an awesome experience."
Williams said Goodwin can become as good as a kicker as he wants to be.
"I think he can be a really, really good kicker," Williams said. "I think he can do it at a much higher level. That will be a decision he and his family will have to make at the appropriate time if he continues to excel at both."
Meanwhile, the soccer team is off to a 1-3 start going into a match with Meridian Community College this afternoon and Goodwin leads the team with two assists.
Goodwin started the soccer season as a midfielder, but he''s been moved to forward and will start there for the first time this afternoon.
"We''re expecting to get a few more goals out of him now instead of assists," Sullivan said. "We made that move because we thought between him and we''ve got another guy from Tupelo (Hil Fradenburg) that those two were playing in reverse and we wanted to see them switch roles. Will does a really good job checking back for the ball. He''s a strong and physical kind of kid. He''s a big body up top. He should probably do a little better in that spot at this level. All the defenders are big, fast guys themselves so we kind of like Will''s matchup better than our other guy. We''re expecting him to start lighting the scoreboard up starting against Meridian."
Goodwin was worried how playing for two teams at the same time would affect his grades, but since the football and soccer teams practice at the same time in the afternoon it gives him time to study at night.
Goodwin said students are just now getting into heart of the material and that his grades are just fine.
So far into his freshman season, Goodwin is making the grade on the football field, soccer field and in the classroom.
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