EAST MANATEE -- Austin Myara dreams of someday hitting a 70-yard field goal in a game.
It's not a far-fetched idea, according to John Guy, a former NFL kicking and special teams coach who tutors the Braden River High senior.
Myara has the leg and temperament, says Guy, who lists former NFL kicking great Gary Anderson among those he coached. They were together in Pittsburgh.
"Austin has strength and power, and the ball explodes off his foot. He is very similar to Gary," Guy says. "He needs some refinement, but his leg is strong enough now to kick for a major college program. He understands leverage. He has the leg to do it (kick a 70-yarder)."
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Austin Myara learned the art of kicking a soccer ball from his father, Albert, who played in France before he moved to the United States at 16. His dad played for USF in the early 1970s and then semi-pro ball in the Tampa Bay area.
Father and son are strikers with a knack for scoring.
The younger Myara has his sights set on getting a football scholarship as a kicker and wants to play for a high-level Division I program.
Austin Myara played soccer for the nationally touted Clearwater Chargers, but gave it up after last season to concentrate on football.
"I still love the game, but I didn't want to take a chance on getting hurt and ruining my chances of getting a football scholarship," he said.
The 5-foot-11, 187-pounder came out for football for the first time last spring. He played linebacker, but after talking to coaches it was agreed he would be used strictly as a kicker.
"I am glad. You worry about getting hurt when your son is involved in the other part of the game," Albert Myara said. "There is more pressure because as a football kicker you only get about one or two chances in a game and you can't make up for a mistake. Soccer is 90 minutes, so you get a lot of chances."
Myara has shown a big leg in practice, kicking field goals from 60 to 70 yards out. His first high school field goal attempt was blocked. He hit the next two from 22 and 27 yards out.
Austin is waiting for the game where he is called upon to make a field goal from 40 to 50 yards out with the clock running down.
"There is always pressure being a kicker, and I love pressure. I feel that I do well in those situations," Austin Myara said.
Albert Myara taught his son the finer points of kicking through his early years. He never kicked field goals, but he has faith in his son because of his calm demeanor and natural kicking skills.
"The big thing is working on the finer techniques. The concepts are the same," Albert Myara said.
Austin Myara started kicking a soccer ball when he was 2 years old. Since he can remember, he was the player who was asked to boot the penalty kicks.
"I was always the kid with the big leg. I hit shots that no one wanted to get in front of," Austin Myara said. "I have plenty of power, but kicking is all about technique in football. It's all about keeping your head down and keeping your eye on the ball."
When it comes to pressure, Austin Myara compares booting penalty kicks in soccer to kicking field goals in football.
"With both, you have only one chance and there is pressure, but that's something you have to live with. It's never bothered me. I enjoy it," he says.
Guy has worked with a lot of successful kickers. In 1998, Anderson had the first perfect regular season in NFL history, making all his field goals and PATs. Guy also coached former Cincinnati Bengals kicker Doug Pelfrey, who set a franchise record with 101 consecutive extra point attempts in 1997. Despite being around all these greats ,he can't stop raving about Myara.
"Austin is athletic and accepts coaching, Pressure is self-imposed, and he doesn't worry about that," Guy said.