Lambo hopes NFL comes calling

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Former Middleton High School athlete Josh Lambo made 21-of-25 field goals at Texas A&M over the last two seasons. Lambo has an outside chance to be selected during the NFL Draft this weekend./Photo submitted

He was here — and gone — in a flash.

But Josh Lambo certainly left his mark. And nearly a decade later, Lambo’s name still creates a buzz throughout the Middleton community.

Lambo was one of the most impressive soccer players to ever walk the halls of Middleton High School — even though he was only in the Cardinals’ program just two short months.

Lambo eventually played four years of professional soccer, but eventually turned his attention to football. Lambo then spent three seasons at Texas A&M, where he became one of the top collegiate kickers in the country.

Now, when the NFL Draft is held Thursday through Saturday, the 24-year-old Lambo has a chance to be a late round selection. At worst, Lambo will wind up in somebody’s training camp this summer.

If Lambo eventually makes an NFL roster, he’ll join Casey Cramer, Nick Toon and Ryan Groy as Middleton athletes since 2004 to play in the NFL.

“It would be a huge blessing and be a very, very cool thing to put up on my résumé and potentially join a pretty elite list of players and great athletes,” Lambo said in February. “It’s awesome to have a chance to get back on a national platform as far as athletically. I’m looking forward to it.”

Lambo’s journey from the soccer field to the football field has been a wild one.

Lambo and his family moved from Crystal Lake, Ill., to Middleton in the summer of 2005, shortly before Josh’s freshman year. And it didn’t take long for the Lambo’s to realize they had entered Packer country.

“We had just moved there. Just got into the house,” Josh recalled. “We ordered a pizza with the last named Lambo. And so growing up in Chicago, we were all Bears fans. They write Lambeau and they spell it e-a-u. My brother called, furious, ‘How dare you do that? We’re Bears fans.’ That was a fun story and my introduction to Wisconsin.”

It didn’t take Lambo long to introduce himself to the area soccer community.

Lambo immediately began turning heads as one of the most athletic and gifted goalies the state has ever seen.

“He was a sensational athlete and just a terrific kid,” said former Middleton coach Ken Burghy. “He looked three or four years older than he was, too. He was advanced beyond his years.”

Then, just like that, he was gone.

Midway through Lambo’s freshman season, he left to join the U.S. Soccer Under-17 residency program in Bradenton, Fla.

Then in 2008, when Lambo was just 17, he was selected eighth overall in the Major League Soccer Draft by Dallas. In four seasons, Lambo never played in an MLS game, but started several reserve games.

“I got drafted at 17. For me, I moved out of my house at 14 to go to the youth 17 residency program in Brandenton, Fla., at the IMG campus,” Lambo said. “So I moved out of my house really early on, really young and so I did a lot of growing up there.

“Then, being a 17-year-old in a professional locker room, you really have to grow up quickly because this is these guys livelihoods. This is what puts food on the table for their families. So I learned real quick it wasn’t just a game anymore. It was a job.”

Lambo played four seasons with Dallas, then the MLS team elected not to pick up the final year of his contract.

Texas A&M then gave the 6-foot, 215-pound Lambo a chance to walk-on in the fall of 2012, despite his limited football experience.

“The only football experience I ever had was when I was 10, and I actually won the Punt, Pass and Kick national championship,” Lambo said. “That was the only football I ever did before college.”

But Lambo did have a big leg and a terrific work ethic. And after backing up Taylor Bertolet in 2012, Lambo won the kicking job the following season.

During the 2013-’14 seasons, Lambo made 21-of-25 field goals (84.0%), which set the Texas A&M record for field goal accuracy. Lambo also made 111 of 112 extra points

Lambo was one of five kickers invited to the NFL Combine in February. And now, this weekend will be the next step on his wild soccer-to-football journey.

“I think for me personally, I’m fortunate to have some experiences to where I’ve both succeeded and failed at the professional level,” Lambo said. “I got a contract and then I didn’t get one at the same time. I’ve had those experiences. I found out what works for me, how I can get into my zone, what can take me away from it. I think if I have any benefit, that’s what it is.”

Now Lambo will find out if that’s good enough to eventually earn him an NFL roster spot.

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