AP Photo, 2012
The Patriots might not be advancing to the Super Bowl, but Needham residents still have a reason to cheer Feb. 2.
“He was a very strong kicker,” said Don Brock, a soccer coach and math teacher for Needham High. “I used to tease him because he would kick the ball well over the [goalpost] bar. He could really pound a soccer ball.“
Brock said Hauschka was also in his honors calculus class, noting that the current pro football star “was a very bright kid.”
“He was very pleasant and very well-liked by his peers, and he was a good student too,” Brock said. “His soccer teammates voted him ‘most improved’ his senior year. He was just such a hard worker.”
Hauschka has also sporadically visited Needham High’s soccer practice since he graduated nearly a decade ago, Brock said.
“It did not surprise me one iota that he became a field goal kicker,” Brock said, laughing. “He could kick from one end of the soccer field and put us on offense right away on the other end.”
Brock drily noted that two soccer players he coached went on to become professional athletes -- in football and hockey.
“He [Hauschka] probably should have played football in high school - he was big enough even back then,” Brock said. “I’m sure the football team would have loved to have him, but Needham is more of a soccer town.”
Needham High School's band director, Margaret McLallen, also said Hauschka was a talented trombonist who played in the high school's concert band for all four years he was there.
"Band was something he really took seriously and was a big participant in," McLallen said, noting that he was often assigned the lead trombone melodies. "He was outstanding in many areas. He stood out as an all around really good guy."
McLallen said she had heard her former student had gotten involved in football when he was in college, but only recently saw him playing for an NFL team.
"Sunday night, I was watching the Seahawks game at a restaurant and all of a sudden I saw Steven Hauschka as a kicker, and it really jarred me," she said. "It's pretty exciting."
Needham athletics officials tweeted out photos of a young Hauschka in his soccer uniform Thursday.
“TBT [Throw Back Thursday] to @Seahawks Super Bowl Bound Kicker Steven Hauschka's days as a Midfielder for Needham HS Soccer! #Blastoff” tweeted @NHSRockets.
Hauschka, who started playing in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, never played in an organized football game before attending Middlebury College.
Today, Hauschka is one of the pro league's best kickers. He kicked 33 field goals this season for the Seahawks, missing only two of his 35 goal attempts, and made all six of his postseason field goal attempts, according to the NFL.
He also had the second highest regular season field goal percentage in the league, behind only Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos, according to ESPN.
The Seahawks will face the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at email@example.com