Foprmer Minnesota Gopher kicker Rhys Lloyd of the Frankfurt Galaxy was named the NFL Europe League…
Rhys Lloyd: Yes, it's like a "kicking camp" for four days where basically the kickers all kick and do whatever else they ask us to do. Then based on that, they'll put the players on the teams.
ET: You were born in England and lived there until you were were fifteen years old. What brought you over to the United States?
RL: When my dad ended his soccer career with a knee injury, he was sitting in
the hospital, reading one of the soccer magazines and there was an ad in there
for English coaches to come over and teach the game of soccer to the American
kids; Minnesota was our destination. We came over for three months in the summer
and tried it out. And at the end of the three months, they offered him a
job with the club he was working with. The following year, the whole family
moved out there and I've been here since.
ET: Are there any of the teams' locations in Europe that you haven't visited before?
RL: No, I don't believe. I was lucky I got to travel a lot when I was a
youngster growing up in England playing soccer. A lot of kids over here travel
state to state. In England you get to travel country to country, which was
a good deal for me. I was lucky in that I got to travel a lot.
ET: Give the fans some background on your college career…
RL: I played two years of junior college in Minnesota at Rochester Community Technical College. I was a two-year All-American there and I believe I still hold the record for most points in a season in the junior college rankings. Then I transferred to the University of Minnesota for two years and finished playing there. I had a pretty good career there.
ET: Then you were signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent, right?
RL: Yes, I went to all of the mini-camps and played in three preseason games. I got released from Baltimore and then nothing really happened for me during the season. Right after the season I worked out with the New York Giants and then I followed by going to watch the Pro Day back up in Minnesota to watch Laurence Maroney. I ended up kicking for a couple scouts and the Green Bay Packers signed me. I went and did a bit of training for them for about a month and a half and got released from there. Since then I've had a couple workouts here and there with some teams and I'm currently training with a personal trainer down here in Tampa.
ET: As a kicker coming out of college you obviously knew placekicker jobs were not that easy to come by. Have you had to learn a lot of patience as you've come along?
RL: Yeah, but the patience issue always has to do with my parents. I've always been the guy that kind of goes day-to-day, and I don't expect nothing and I don't get uptight if I see kickers signing to teams. The only thing I can really control is what I do. So I spotted away the patience thing. But the people you really want to talk to is my parents because they're on edge a lot. I don't know if that's because of me (laughs) or because of the NFL too. It's probably a combination of both. (laughs)
ET: What do you think it's going to take to boost you over the top and get you into that elite group of 32 starting place-kickers in the NFL?
RL: One thing I did realize when I got released from Baltimore and then further on down the line by Green Bay, I think my fitness had a lot to do with it. People say kickers are on the field for about a total of a minute the whole game, so fitness isn't a big issue. But I'd say fitness and my strength is what I've worked on extensively over the last eight to nine months at least. I've found a personal trainer here who's really good. He's worked with a lot of pro athletes; Willie Parker being one of them. So I've been working with him and I think now my kicking ability is still the same, but the power I'm producing will hopefully give me that X factor.