Sydney Maas plays soccer and football at Bowling Green High School. Visit to watch a video.

J.D. Pooley | Sentinel-Tribune

Bowling Green senior soccer player and football place kicker Sydney Maas would like nothing more than kicking a game-winning field goal under the Friday night lights.

In the season opener at Bobcat Stadium, BG defeated Lake, 35-0, so Maas got five opportunities for point after touchdown conversion kicks.

Maas converted on all five, so second-year coach Josh Wade awarded her one of the two game balls.

“It was kind of like (being named) the Player of the Game,” Maas said. “(BG senior quarterback) Kadin Shank also received a game ball, and I didn’t know it was a thing, so I was pretty excited to receive it.”

Wade said, “It wasn’t a thing. I tried to tell everyone I don’t normally do it because it’s different, but I wanted to recognize two people.

“It’s because it is not easy to do, and people don’t see the work that she has put in, not only for this season, but she’s been doing it ever since I got here, so she’s been working behind the scenes.

“What we saw on Friday was what I already knew. I’m proud of her for going out there. It’s just an added element in front of all those people on a Friday night, first game of the year, and she did not miss a single one,” Wade continued.

He wanted to do two game balls on Friday.

“Kadin being the quarterback, he struggled going through last year and he came into his own last Friday. It was special to me to see his growth,” Wade said. “Sydney, it’s just putting in the work.

“That was my only hope and appreciation at the time to show those two individuals that I recognize the work they put in and it turned out to be a special night.”

Two years JV, then varsity

Maas began place kicking for the BG junior varsity team her sophomore year, and last year kicked a field goal to help BG defeat Sylvania Northview.

Maas says her mother encouraged her to try it. Sydney liked it and continues to work at it. Her field goal range extends to about 35 yards, but she has more confidence in her “accuracy” than her “power.”

It stemmed from playing soccer, which she began at age 7. Entering this year, Maas had 26 career goals over three years, second highest in BG history, plus 14 assists for the varsity.

Maas was the soccer team’s leading scorer her junior year with 10 goals, including four against Northern Lakes League opponents, and seven assists.

She was a second team All-NLL selection at center forward and is now a four-year starter. She was voted team captain by her teammates and coaches this year.

“She is a really versatile player because she can get the ball to her feet and be a playmaker, but she can also take players on and be a goal scorer as well,” BG soccer coach Erika Kimple said.

“She is also a really great team leader. In addition, what we’re saying over the last couple years is she knows how to use her voice to guide players and really motivate them. She is a huge asset for us.”

Wade sees the same work ethic. When Maas decided to become a place kicker, assistant football coaches Shaun Ginnan and Scott Wongrowski began to work with her, and Wade spent time with her this summer.

“She was already working on it when I first got here that summer (2021),” Wade said. “She’ll go out after soccer practice sometimes by herself and she’ll just kick and kick and kick.

“You know, with her being in soccer this year, I told her, ‘Hey, I plan on you being our field goal kicker’ on Friday nights. She’s worked her tail off and earned this position.

“I said, ‘Don’t freak out. I have all the faith in the world in you.’ When she went 5-for-5 on Friday, it was fantastic,” Wade continued.

Fully prepared

Wade said he is fully prepared with all the gear she needs in hand, just like for soccer.

“She has a big bag of footballs and a block, and a holding tee and she works on her own,” Wade said. “She is one of those individuals that you know she is going to work when they say they are going to work, and she’s been doing that.”

Maas says she has learned how to separate the different kicking styles of football and soccer.

“I think the angle I kick it, just because it is shaped differently than a soccer ball and it’s held on a tee, so it is kind of the way I approach my kick,” Maas said. “I think the kicking motion I picked up pretty easily from soccer.”

Maas admits that while preparing for her first varsity football game, there were jitters.

“I was definitely nervous going into it, but I was able to kick a little bit on the sideline, so I got my leg ready. I was ready to go. It was just 10 yards, so I felt comfortable in that range.”

This Friday BG travels to Eastwood, which opened with a 17-0 win over defending Division V state runner-up Ottawa-Glandorf.

“I know a lot of kids from Eastwood, so I’m excited,” Maas said. “Hopefully we’ll do well, and I’ll just take all the opportunities that I can get. I’m just excited to play. Eastwood is a good team.”

Maas has two older sisters, and said that her father loves seeing her on the gridiron.

She also said that being the lone female on an all-male football team is a different environment that playing with her soccer team.

“They are all supportive and congratulated me on Friday. I think it’s a bunch of guys who are just louder and there is more excitement because it’s football and it is a bigger team and more people,” Maas said. “I think it can be intimidating but being in uniform I feel like I’m one of them, so it is fine.”

Wade said, “She is just one of the players, you know what I mean? No one has ever questioned her being out there.

“When we called on her on Friday, the guys expected her to make it just like anyone else we would expect to.”

Even her soccer coach, when she first heard that Maas wanted to kick for the football team, fully encouraged it.

“At first, she was a little bit hesitant,” Kimple said. “Then she realized, ‘Why not?’ She loves sports, she loves competition, she loves in general kicking, so why not give it a try, and see if she is any good at it.”