Back in the Summer of 2006, David Moyes’ Everton were coming off the back of a disappointing follow-up season to a fourth-place finish the year previous. It started off with an infamous exit at the Champions League qualifying stages and didn’t get much better. Eleventh in the Premier League, losses in rounds three and four of the League and FA Cups respectively joined an embarrassing 5-2 aggregate defeat at the hands of Dinamo Bucharest in the UEFA Cup.
In preparation for the season ahead, The Blues headed over to the United States to take part in a two-game exhibition. They started off against Columbus Crew with a 1-1 draw, and came out with the same result against Mexican side Club America three days later – although actually ended up losing 5-4 on penalties.
At the time, there was a little-known 15-year-old named Josh Lambo who had been brought to the attention of Everton staff by new goalkeeper Tim Howard. As a ‘keeper himself, Lambo turned in plenty of solid performances for both club and country at his age level. Everton took a look at him and invited him along with them on their US tour, then brought him over to Finch Farm for a trial. He obviously impressed as he was offered a contract by the club on the condition that he could obtain a European passport. It was a possibility due to his Greek heritage.
The deal between Everton and the American eventually broke down, presumably due to the inability for him to obtain the required documentation, and Lambo went on to be drafted by MLS team FC Dallas. Somewhat unfortunately, his footballing career never panned out. He broke his jaw in his first-ever professional game, and halfway through that season the coach who drafted him got fired. From there it was downhill.
With ‘soccer’ not working out for Lambo, he decided to hang up his boots and go the route of attending college to get a ‘big boy job’. It was there he kick-started, literally, a new career path.
In 2012, he took his talents to College Station, Texas and tried his hand as a placekicker for college football team the Texas A&M Aggies. Naturally, he caught on and won the starting role at his position in 2013. Lambo had a mildly successful college career with Texas A&M, hitting his first game winning field goal against Ole Miss. The kicker ended up entering the 2015 NFL Draft, but fell through each of the seven rounds and went undrafted.
At the beginning of May, Lambo was eventually handed an opportunity by an NFL team – the San Diego Chargers – for whom he signed a contract with. Just yesterday, Lambo was announced as the team’s starting kicker, unseating veteran player Nick Novak and making their 53-man roster in the process. The kicking skills he had picked up playing association football had translated to the American game.
As well as a former trialist of The Toffees, Lambo confessed to also be a fan of the team. In a recent interview with Texas A&M student newspaper The Batt, he stated:
"I support Everton. I met Tim Howard and got to hang out with him on numerous occasions. Everton actually offered me a contract when I was 16, but I didn’t have my European paperwork, so I couldn’t go.
"It never worked out. Everton is the people’s club. Goodison Park is a great stadium and has a great atmosphere with awesome fans, and that’s kind of who I’ve supported."
Lambo will take to the field in a competitive nature with the Chargers for the first time on Sunday, 13 September when they face the Detroit Lions at their home field Qualcomm Stadium.