The Buffalo Bills place-kicker told ESPN on Thursday night he is “excited” for Lloyd, who went viral last week after a video of her kicking a 55-yard field goal during a Philadelphia Eagles–Baltimore Ravens practice led to multiple offers from NFL teams.
Hauschka, 34, played soccer at Middlebury College before transitioning to football, and said he can relate to Lloyd’s consideration to make a similar career move.
“I saw the way she kicked that ball and she’s obviously got a lot of talent,” Hauschka said after the Bills’ preseason finale. “It feels close to my heart because when I was 18, 19 years old, I was a soccer player and I had a dream of kicking footballs just for my Division III college team. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity and I had a coach that showed me how to do it.
“If it’s something she really wants to do, not only will I help her out — if she wants it — but I hope she goes for it. I do think it’s possible to kick well in this league as a female. It’s a very mental position, it’s physical, it’s technical and I think it could be done eventually.”
Lloyd’s coach told ESPN she would aim for the 2020 season if she decides to attempt to become the NFL’s first female player. Doing so would allow her to train properly and shore up the technical differences between kicking a soccer ball and kicking a football.
Beyond the fundamentals, the challenge for her, in Hauschka’s opinion, will be gaining experience in a game and league that don’t present a wide margin for error for kickers.
The two-time World Cup champion and World Cup Golden Ball winner Lloyd, 37, is used to performing under pressure — a fundamental trait in any place-kicker — but it’s difficult to start out in any sport at its highest level.
“It’s definitely different, the thing I think that’ll be tough for her is just game experience,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that you’ve got to learn over the course of [a career] and it’s hard to learn that stuff at the NFL level because there’s not room for error. I was fortunate enough to be able to kick at a Division III level and then the Division I level and work my way up.
“But I think it’s really cool, a really cool story.”
Hauschka, who signed a two-year, $8 million extension with the Bills on Wednesday, said it took him “about a year” to get used to kicking a football — although he says he’s still learning, even in his 12th NFL season.
As for skeptics who believe Lloyd’s willingness — or ability — to tackle her opponents would keep her out of the NFL? Hauschka quickly shut it down.
“She doesn’t have to.”