Norwegian kicker Havard Rugland trains in San Diego with coach Michael Husted
December 26, 2012 (San Diego) – More than a million people have viewed Norwegian Havard Rugland’s YouTube video showing off his amazing kicking skills, says kicking coach Michael Husted, a former NFL kicker working wtih Rugland in San Diego. It’s also earned him the attention of NFL coaches and a workout with the New York Jets—even though he’s never played in a football game before.
View Havard Rugland's "Kickalicious" YouTube video here, in which he kicks footballs not only through goalposts on fields, but also into the waiting arms of a colleague in a moving car, on a skateboard, and atop a hill.
Husted, who has been training Rugland in recent weeks, is not surprised that the video has generated plenty of ‘buzz’ in both the media and the NFL.
"It has been very exciting to be part of something that has gone viral,” says Husted. “It has been amazing that in just a couple of days, the number of views for Havard’s kicking video has doubled. His talent and creativity in the video that got him noticed by NFL teams, and the subsequent workout with the Jets, has caught the attention of the media worldwide and more NFL teams.”
When Havard came to the U.S. in early December to train with Husted, his YouTube kicking video had been viewed around 450,000 times. Havard had posted the video to YouTube on September 16th, which meant the video was being viewed on average 5,000 times a day for the first 90 days.
By Sunday, December 15th, about a week into Havard’s trip to the U.S., the number of views to his video had increased to around 490,000 views, which meant it was still being viewed around 5,000 times a day.
And then it all changed.
It changed when word got out to the media that Rugland, an unknown kicker from Norway who had created a very popular YouTube video, was in the U.S. training with kicking coach Michael Husted for a workout with the New York Jets.
Over the next few days, as more media outlets such as Reuters and CNN got wind of the story, the views to Rugland’s video started to accelerate. And fast.
By December 21, the views reached over 600,000, and within the next 24 hours –between Friday and Saturday morning- over 120,000 people had gone to YouTube to watch Rugland’s kicking video. That meant that Rugland’s video had gone from 490,000 views to over 800,000 views in just six days. It also meant the video was destined to hit 1 million views –or have doubled- by the seventh.
While all of this was going on Rugland, who has never played in a game of football, was continuing to pursue his new found dream of playing in the NFL.
“Havard’s workout with the Jets when very well,” says Husted. “They definitely see his potential. They understand that he has never played the game, but his leg strength impressed them. They would like him to continue to train and then they will bring him back in for another workout at the end of February.”
Husted, who kicked in the NFL for nine years, says it's important Rugland stays focused in the midst of the media attention he is now starting to get. He says Rugland has gone from living a very quiet life, in a very small Norwegian town, to being known throughout the world, and it is a change that would take anybody by surprise.
Husted says this could prove to be distraction for Rugland in pursuing his NFL goal, if it is not kept in perspective.
“Havard is getting a ton of attention in Norway, Japan, Canada and the US,” says Husted. “It is very exciting, but we have discussed how to manage the media attention and not lose focus on his training. Since his workout with the Jets, several other NFL teams have inquired about him, so things are very exciting right now. We understand that he can't get ahead of himself and that he stills has a lot of work to do if he wants to make it as a kicker in the NFL.”
And it is work that will require financial support.
While Rugland’s video continues to climb the YouTube charts, and wow all those who view it, Rugland will not only need to focus on his training, but also for ways to support his NFL quest. Husted, and Rugland’s Agent Jill McBride Baxter, are trying to help him with this.
“Havard and I had two weeks to work together,” says Husted. “Considering that he has never had any formal coaching, let alone play in a game, his progress was impressive. He still has a lot of training ahead of him, so we are exploring the possibility of sponsorships to help him come back over to the US and train full time.”
If only those YouTube views were dollars.
Go here for Havard Rugland's YouTube video.
Go here for more information about kicking coach Michael Husted.
Go here for more information about Sports Agent Jill McBride Baxter.