Tom Munds Kicking the football for Englewood High School helped Amado Villarreal develop his skills to the point he was able to walk on at …
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Kicking the football for Englewood High School helped Amado
Villarreal develop his skills to the point he was able to walk on
at Northwestern University.
In his final two years with the Pirates, Villarreal made 10 of
21 field goals and 45 of 51 extra-point tries and averaged 62.7
yards when he kicked off for Englewood.
The 2004 EHS graduate kicked his first field goal for
Northwestern in the 2005 Sun Bowl and won the starting place
kicking job in 2007.
Villarreal retained his job this year. So far, he has made 15 of
18 field goals and is on track to break the Northwestern
single-season field goal record of 20. He is the team scoring
leader with 65 points and probably will break his own single-season
scoring record of 72 points and could make it into the school’s
top-10 scoring leader, a list that begins at 78 points.
He kicked three field goals in the game against Michigan and was
the Sept. 22 Big Ten Special Team Player of the week as he booted
three field goals and an extra point, making it the second week in
a row he had scored in double figures.
Villarreal took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to talk
to the Englewood Herald about his football career, his college
career and his plans for the future.
This is your final year at Northwestern so how are things
The year is going well. The team is playing well and I am
kicking well so far this year. It’s fun and I’m enjoying kicking
Talk a little about your five years with the Northwestern
I came in as a walk on and the coaches decided to redshirt me
that first season. That means I work out and practice just like
everyone else but I don’t suit up or play in games. The next year,
I made the team and this is my fourth season as a kicker. The
decision to redshirt me was a good one because it helped me get
acclimated to the speed and intensity of college football and the
demands of being a student athlete. It also helped me refine my
kicking skills so I was more focused and kicked more
Has your kicking technique changed dramatically since you kicked
There really isn’t a huge change in the basic technique but I
have grown stronger and improved my skills over the years, so I am
now a much better kicker. In high school, I just went out and
kicked the football and I was still a kid when I came to
Northwestern. The coaches helped me refine my skills and now I know
what is expected of me when I take the field and I know where I
need to put the football. I focus and make sure I go through the
same routine the same way every time I kick the ball.
Talk about your regular routine as a college football
Our days start about 7 a.m. each morning. On a typical week, we
don’t practice Monday but report to the stadium to debrief on last
week’s game, stretch and work with light weights. We put on full
pads Tuesday and go through a full practice. Wednesday and Thursday
we wear just shoulder pads for practice. We are limited to a
maximum of 20 hours on-field practice a week. Friday we report to
the stadium at about 10 a.m. If it is an away game, we load up and
travel. If is it a home game, we have meetings, eat meals together
as a team, have chapel and see a movie. Either way, we stay at a
hotel so we are away from the distractions of campus. Saturday is
game day and Sunday is our day off.
Where do classes and studies fit into your schedule?
All the practices are scheduled in the morning so we are
finished by about 11 a.m. That way, we can have the afternoon and
evening for classes and study time. Of course, we know we are
expected to manage our academic schedule so we make good grades and
You have stayed busy. What has five years of college football
One big lesson football has taught me is time management. I am
kept busy with school, football and I am very active in the
Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I learned to be part of the team
and get along well with all the other 100 guys on the team. Also,
being on the team and on the field, I learned to handle and manage
situations when we win and when we don’t. I believe I have learned
lessons from athletics and from football that I can apply to
anything I might face in life.
Have you completed your degree requirements?
Yes. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical
engineering in June. Now, I am enrolled in a one-year master’s
degree program in project management.
What are your plans for the future?
Like every other guy that played football, I’d love to play pro
but is is very difficult to break into the NFL as a kicker. We’ll
see how the season goes and what happens with the NFL draft. It
would be awesome to play professional football and I will give it a
try if the opportunity presents itself. However, if there are no
NFL offers, I have received a great education here at Northwestern
and I feel confident I can pursue a great and challenging career in
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