Thursday Pace kicker Ryan Santoso got the jersey he has long awaited.
Adrian Wolff, the tour manager for the American Family Insurance Selection Tour, presented the 6-5, 265 pound kicker with his jersey to recognize him as a member to play in football game featuring the nations top gridiron players.
Ironically, Santoso has not been kicking a football all that long, but when he stepped onto the practice field long-time Pace head coach Mickey Lindsey saw something in him.
"It was something special to see the way the ball came off of his foot," Lindsey said of that first day. "I think he is going to be a special player with a great future.
"Ryan is a very humble young man with a tremendous work ethic."
While in the beginning the former soccer players struggles with his kicking and confidence, he blossomed over the summer at camps like the Kohl's Camp at the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater where he earned the honor of being selected as an All-American for the game in January.
"I had to put in a lot of hard work, confidence build, and a lot of camps," Santoso said. "I didn't have a lot of confidence in myself leading up to this summer.
"I have had a lot of people help me realize I am a lot better than I thought I was."
At UW-Whitewater over 500 kickers competed against one another to see who the top two would be. Santoso was one of the final two at the end of the week and earned the honor of becoming an Under Armour High School All American.
Many see Santoso step out on the field and wonder what other positions he might play, but Lindsey is very quick to tell you he is just a kicker.
"What he has been able to accomplish is a testimonial to him," said Santoso's kicking coach Kevin Specht. "He has definitely put in a lot of work and dedication."
While proving he is very athletic for his sheer size, Santoso has had to transition a great deal from kicking a soccer ball to kicking a football. He literally had to train a how new group of muscles.
"Most people do not think I am that athletic, but I can get the job done" Santoso said. "But the big difference for me is the fundamentals.
"Every little thing has to be just right when it comes to the snap, hold, and the kick."
At the end of the day Santoso is a gentle giant.
"Today is a blessing and a honor for me," Santoso said. "I want to thank my coaches, my parents, and my teammates.
"I will get to play with the best in the nation and to be consider one of the best in the nation is truly an honor."
As far as college goes Santoso has drawn some attention, but he has not made any decisions.
"I have talked to some colleges, but there is nothing definite for me just yet," Santoso said. "I have been to a lot of camps at universities like Miami, Georgia Tech, Auburn, and Alabama.
"There has been some interest, but they are already set for a kicker when it comes to my class."
Until signing day Santoso is taking a wait and see attitude, but when he kicks on national television Santoso will definitely be noticed then.
Oct 12, 2012 at 12:01 AM Oct 12, 2012 at 10:49 AM