In 2008, U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 goalkeeper Josh Lambo was drafted eighth overall by FC Dallas. After not making a single first-team appearance with the club, Lambo left in 2011. The following year, he had an unsuccessful trial with D.C. United.
Ready to move on with his life, Lambo enrolled at Texas A&M University, where he would become the place kicker on the school’s football team.
After a successful two seasons at Texas A&M, Lambo has signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers of the NFL. Once again, he can call himself a professional athlete.
“My soccer career definitely didn’t pan out how I wanted it to. I mean my first ever professional game I broke my jaw. Half way through my rookie year, about a month after I got done with my jaw surgery, the coach that drafted me got fired and after that it kind of went downhill for me. I never really got a chance to show my talent. When F.C. Dallas declined my fifth year contract, all the other contracts that were offered to me didn’t seem right. I decided the best thing for me was to hang up my boots and go get an education and a big boy job. I figured since I’m going to go college anyways, I might as well try this kicking thing, and it kind of just took off from there.”
If Lambo wants to be taken seriously among those of us who cross back and forth over the MLS and NFL border, he will have to try a “rabona” kickoff like this one from the Miami Dolphins’ Caleb Sturgis (brother of the Houston Dynamo’s Nathan Sturgis). It will be his nod to fans that he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
Lambo’s journey to the NFL is fascinating, but he isn’t the only soccer player to dabble in professional throwball. After the 1994 World Cup, U.S. national team goalkeeper Tony Meola had an extremely brief preseason career with the New York Jets.
Yes, the mid-90s were strange.