A German student moves to America and becomes a soccer player – even though he’s never played before.
For Lawrence Blattner, it looks like an over-the-top youth movie script has come true: The Munich teenager, now part of a student exchange at Stratford High School in the state of Wisconsin, became his soccer team’s famous match-winner on Thursday. And it made national news.
In the WIAA (Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, Division 6) major school tournament final, he kicked the game-winning field goal for the Stratford Tigers against the Darlington Redbirds – his first successful attempt under competitive conditions.
He “never” expected this, Plattner told TV reporter Carly Marotta after the game. The young athlete – a youth soccer player at SpVgg Haidhausen a few years ago – is “still absolutely breathless,” he said, visibly proud. According to his own reports, the footballer – who had been a footballer for five years – wore a jersey that didn’t even have his name on it. One of the many relevant elements of the Cinderella story to American tastes.
Blattner made a field goal for the first time in his career
The fight for the national title was very dramatic. With the score tied at 7:7 with 26 seconds left, the hero of the day was about to attempt the first field goal of his high school career.
He looked to give his side the winner from 24 yards out, but Darlington blocked the kick and regained possession. After a while, the school tried to win the game in their favour. However, the Redbirds lost the ball with 6 seconds left, giving Stratford a second chance.
They tried to get into the opponent’s end zone with a pass, but were stopped at the 3-yard line as the game clock was running out. But the school of Germany got lucky again, Darlington was awarded a holding penalty, so the game equipment went back to the 15-yard line for the last play.
Germany’s teammates persuaded coach Jason Tubbs to allow Plattner a second try. The German certainly wanted to use it.
“If we lose, I’m an idiot.”
“I definitely want another chance to prove that I can do it. After I kicked the first one, I was a little depressed and upset. If we lose this game, I’m a fool. A fool not to make a field goal,” commented the Stratford player.
To motivate him, Plattner used a psychological trick. With a black pen he wrote on his hand: “Just like training” – the idea of remembering under high pressure, which he practiced many times in action, worked.
Blattner took advantage of his second chance and made a 32-yard field goal. A prominent countryman was also happy: “Congratulations Lawrence!!! Keep going,” cheered former German NFL kicker Dominik Eberle at X.
An unforgettable day for an unexpected hero.
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