For the first time in 12 years, Steve Young is passing up a soccer season. The onetime star of the Lee-Mount Vernon 1972 select team still is getting his kicks, however, as the smallest man on the Navy football squad.
At 5-8 and 165, Young already has made a king-sized contribution on the football field, earning ECAC rookie of the week honors in the Midshipmen's opening 20-16 victory over Virginia.
Young was perfect on field-goal tries of 44 and 28 yards, besides two extra points. His first collegiate kickoff was carried out of the end zone to the Virginia 13 and it was the only one of five the Cavaliers tried to return. So much for the springtime panic that accompanied the graduation of all-America kicker Steve Fehr.
Greg Myers, Navy's soccer coach, deserves applause for his part in the transformation of Young, a two-time soccer letterman, into a football hero. Myers, knowing Navy would need a kicker when Fehr was gone and aware of Young's high school credentials, suggested a year ago that Coach George Welsh take a look at Young. After Welsh left for Virginia, Myers repeated his offer to Welsh's successor, Gary Tranquill.
"I think Coach Myers was looking out for my best interests," Young said. "I still love to play soccer, but I played football in high school and I felt I'd like to play college football, too. With Steve Fehr gone, the opportunity was there."
Young's soccer career began as a 9-year-old in San Diego and continued in Northern Virginia while his father was stationed at the Pentagon. He played as a freshman at Mount Vernon High School before his family moved to Florida.
Young says he considers himself only about 25 percent of a kick.
"Marco (Pagnanelli) is the number one holder, the best I've seen, and Bob Dill is a real good snapper," Young said. "They're at least 75 percent of the kick. All I have to do is kick it."
As for ultimate range of probable success, Young said, "On a 55-yarder I'd feel I have a good shot. If it was a game-winning chance, I'd go for 60. The wind is a factor, of course . . ."