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Former soccer star Marando develops into key cog as Fordham kicker

Bronx Times
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Fordham University kicker Michael Marando received a quick “No” from his parents when he first asked if he could play football at Xaverian as a freshman. A lot has changed since then.

He went from being potently left on the sidelines to heading into his senior season at Fordham as a finalist for the Fred Mitchell Award, given to the best non-Bowl Championship Series place kicker in the country. Marando, who played soccer most of his life, had a great season last year during Fordham’s history season that included a 10¬-0 start and a run to the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. The Rams were picked to win the Patriot League this season and could make a run at a national title.

In his first season as the starter Marando made 16 of his 20 field goal attempts and set a school record by connecting on 55 of 56 extra points. He’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of former Rams kicker and mentor Patrick Murry, who won the award in 2012. “It’s definitely an honor, I learned a lot from Patrick Murray a few years back, who actually won the award,” Marando said. “So most of what I know now and a big part of it is from Murray.”

Marando didn’t start playing football until his high school days at Xaverian. He was a soccer player to start with the Clippers, but during the fall of his freshman year the football coaches at Xaverian went looking for a kicker on the soccer team. He wanted to do it, but ran it into roadblock when he first asked to participate.

“I spoke to my parents and my dad said, “No way,’” Marando said. “Football is definitely never in the family. So for that to be an option it was out of our comfort zone.”

He eventually got them to come around and started booming 55-yard field goals in practice. It eventually turned into a football scholarship once the Fordham soccer team had no money available. Marando heads into his final season at Fordham as a Preseason All-American and First Team All- Patriot League selection’s success. His importance is not lost on his teammates.

“Mike did a great job for us last year,” Fordham quarterback Mike Nebrich said. “Epically speaking from the quarterback position, once we get down to that 30 and in yard-line, it’s nice knowing if we make a mistake and don’t get it we still have three points on the board.”

None of that would be possible if Marando wasn’t allowed to play football in high school at Xavierian. Marando, looking better than ever, now has a chance to help one of the nations best Football Championship Subdivision teams try to bring home a crown.

“He’s done a great job this offseason working on his own, and I think he has only missed one kick thus far at camp, that was blocked,” Fordham coach Joe Moorehead said. “I expect him to build off of his success from last year.”

Updated 11:02 am, August 21, 2014
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