Josh Gable, the one-time pro soccer player, really wants to be a kicker in the NFL. But he basically has no game video to show anyone how good he is.
So what do you do to generate attention in lieu of showing off footage of game-winning kicks?
You become a trick shot kicker and hope your videos of booming, long-distance field goals go viral and lure the NFL. After all, kicks of 70-yards plus blowing through the uprights look good on anyone’s athletic résumé.
It’s why Gable, a 27-year-old from Kearney, Neb. who played pro soccer in Italy and Belgium, started selling his skills by posting videos of himself juggling a ball with his feet, then bouncing it off a target 20 yards away. Or the ones showing him kicking from various angles toward the uprights. They all slice through.
Eventually, Gable figured someone would see the videos. His future agent saw them on Facebook.
“They were insane,” said Brad Berkowitz, Gable’s agent. “He has ridiculous range.”
The Spring League heard about Gable and included him in their first camp in West Virginia. The New England Patriots brought him in for a tryout last year, as did the Indianapolis Colts.
The artsy Gable is back again to compete in the Spring League, which concludes its two-week stint in Austin on Thursday night with a doubleheader at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
Gable is the only player out there who never played college football.
“He came in last year and really impressed us with his abilities,” said Brian Woods, chief executive of the Spring League. “He showed us he had an NFL-caliber leg. Within days of finishing up last year … New England immediately brought him in for a workout. And they said it was probably one of the better workouts they’ve ever seen put on by a kicker.”
Gable went 29 of 30 on field goals during his tryout with New England. Berkowitz said his client’s lone miss was from 65 yards. The buzz around Gable was so strong it landed him an interview with ESPN’s SportsCenter. But the Patriots decided to stick with Stephen Gostkowski, the most accurate kicker in their franchise history.
Gable didn’t do much last Saturday when his South team in the Spring League faced the North. The quarterback for his team is Johnny Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round pick. The team scored only one touchdown, so Gable had an extra point.
The weather, with temperatures in the low 40s and the wind whipping from the north, wasn’t conducive for long-range kicking. Still, Gable said his range, with the wind, was 70 yards.
Maybe Gable will receive another shot at an NFL camp. Representatives of 18 NFL teams and six from the CFL have been through Austin to scout practices and last Saturday’s games. Manziel is pulling the attention, but surely some scout is checking out the kicking specialists who show off at the end of the two-hour practices.
Former Baylor tailback Lache Seastrunk, a Spring League teammate of Gable’s, told the kicker: “I know somebody’s looking at you with all these crazy shots.”
Or maybe it’ll be time for Gable to shut down his athletic career and start focusing more on another passion, fashion illustration and design. Singing and playing the piano — Gable loves jazz — also is in his long-range plans.
If he does design a line, he wants the clothes primarily to be comfortable but look good enough that you could wear them to the office or out on the town.
Like his kicks, Gable also displays his other talents on social media. He decorated a pair of canvas Vans, took a photo of them and posted it on Instagram. He said potential customers started sending him messages, offering to pay him hundreds of dollars for a custom-designed pair.
“I think about life so positively, it’s a win, win,” Gable said. “If something happens with this, it’s obviously positive and I want that to happen. If it doesn’t, then great, I’m still going to take my passion and use it. I already have that natural passion for artistic things in the world.”
Where: Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex
When: South vs. East, 5:30 p.m.; North vs. West, 8
North: RB David Cobb (from Killeen Ellison, was a two-year starter at Minnesota and the Titans’ fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft), WR Marvin Bracy (ended up running track at Florida State), DL Kona Schwenke (undrafted after a four-year career at Notre Dame but spent time on five NFL teams in 2014-15)
South: QB Johnny Manziel (2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M and the Browns’ first-round pick in 2014), Lache Seastrunk (from Temple, the former Baylor standout and sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft has spent the past four years bouncing between the NFL and CFL), RB Ben Tate (rushed for nearly 3,000 yards his final three years at Auburn and was the Texans’ second-round pick in 2010), WR Antwan Goodley (earned all-conference honors at Baylor in 2013), WR Mike Davis (former Longhorn played in the NFL and CFL in 2014-16), DB Dylan Haines (from Lago Vista, another former Longhorn)
East: QB Jerod Evans (two-year starter at Virginia Tech was both an Eagle and a Packer in 2017), QB David Olson (an Arena Leaguer who was a career college backup at Clemson and Stanford), OL Jay Guilllermo (two-year starting center for Clemson)
West: QB Zach Mettenberger (two-time captain at LSU and the Titans’ sixth-round pick of the 2014 draft), RB Storm Woods (played at Oregon State, and before that, Pflugerville)