By LEE ADAMS
Former Starkville Academy standout Will Goodwin anticipates continuing his balancing act in his second year at Itawamba Community College.
In his freshman year, Goodwin was a two-sport athlete playing soccer and football, which is a difficult task with both sports being played during the same time of year.
In 2010, Goodwin focused a little more on his soccer game, but as he prepares for 2011, he is shifting that focus more towards football.
"I ended up doing really well in football last year," said Goodwin. "That has made me focus more on football and I have a lot better chance of going to play football somewhere than soccer."
That change of focus would be difficult if head football coach Jon Williams and head soccer coach Mike Sullivan were not working together.
"It's sort of a trade off from last year," said Williams, who is entering his second year as football coach. "Coach Sullivan has been great to work with us just like we did with him last year, and Will's been great for our team. We're fortunate to have him."
Goodwin, who is a midfielder for the Indian soccer team, will be handling kickoffs, punts and field goals for the football team.
"He's our kicker," said Williams. "I think he's pretty good at all points of the kicking game and he has ice water in his veins."
Goodwin finished 2010 with a total of 1,246 yards on 39 punts, made 21 of his 23 extra point attempts and made six field goals, so kicking isn't the toughest thing he had to learn at ICC. The toughest thing has been learning how to be successful on two fields and in the classroom.
"It's tough but I did it last year," said Goodwin. "With practices, games and being gone so much, it can be tough, but I don't miss class much so it makes it a little easier."
Having one year of experience with being a two-sport athlete has help Goodwin know what to expect in 2011.
"Last year I came in blind," said Goodwin. "At first it was hard to mange my time but once I got my feet wet, I realized I had to get my stuff together or I wasn't going to be able to do this. This year I know what I had to do to juggle it all."
With the football-soccer juggling act and classes, staying motivated on and off the field can be difficult.
"Just knowing that I have to. keeps me motivated," said Goodwin. "If I don't get the work done, then nothing else will be possible."
Kickers are not normally seen as the tough guys on the football field, but Williams doesn't see Goodwin as having a stereotypical kicker mentality.
"He has a defensive back mentality," said Williams. "He is a competitor and if you tell him he can't do something, he'll do it."
Goodwin is putting in hard work on and of the field and his work ethic in both goes back to something he always heard his dad say.
"My dad has always told me 'If you work hard for four years, you can have fun the rest of your life, or you can have fun for four years and work the rest of your life,'" said Goodwin. "It makes me realize I have to get my stuff done while I'm here."
With one year behind him and his second year fast approaching, Goodwin has been drawing interest from some Division I teams according to Williams.
Goodwin is excited by what the future could hold but can't seem to see himself off the field.
"I played all through high school, and I want to take my game to the next level," said Goodwin. "I can't see myself not playing in college and I'd really like to go somewhere after ICC."
Moving on to the next level is always a challenge, but Williams believes Goodwin is capable of it in either no matter the sport.
"Will is very talented in both sports," said Williams. "If he can continue to work hard and stay consistent, I think great things will happen for him."
Goodwin and the soccer Indians started their season last Friday in Perkinston against Mississippi Gulf Coast CC and the football Indians will start this Thursday at Hinds in Goodman.