Ex-soccer player Jakes Bates, of Tomball, putting best foot forward as he makes history in UFL

Jake Bates was a soccer star at Tomball High School. Now, he's a member of the Michigan Panthers of the United Football League.

ex-soccer player jakes bates, of tomball, putting best foot forward as he makes history in ufl
ex-soccer player jakes bates, of tomball, putting best foot forward as he makes history in ufl
Credit: Getty Images DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 07: Jake Bates #38 of the Michigan Panthers kicks a 62-yard field goal(Photo by Rey Del Rio/UFL/Getty Images)

HOUSTON — One of the longest field goals of all time by a kicker who never made a field goal in high school or college?

Jake Bates is, of course, now receiving national attention for his incredible feat.

“It's very cool. All this stuff is happening. But it's also really new. I'm not even remotely used to it,” he said.

Jake was a soccer star at Tomball High School – though the 2017 graduate did handle kickoffs for the football team – then played collegiately at Central Arkansas. He later transitioned to football, performing kickoffs exclusively at Texas State and finally Arkansas.

Now a member of the Michigan Panthers of the United Football League, he’s kicking things into high gear. Officially, he’s made three field goals of 60 yards or more.

Unofficially, he’s made four. Another on March 30 against the St. Louis Battlehawks did not count because St. Louis called time out, hoping to rattle Bates.

It didn’t.

On the next snap, he booted what is now tied for the second-longest field goal in the history of pro football.

“That’s why you practice so hard so every kick can be the same,” remarked Bates after the 18-16 win.

Bates and Michigan face the Houston Roughnecks on May 26 at Rice Stadium.

Justin Tucker’s 66-yarder in 2021 for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League is the longest. Matt Prater also converted from 64 yards in 2013 as a member of the Broncos.

“I feel like it's something that hasn't really sunk in yet,” he told KHOU 11 News’ Jason Bristol during a Zoom call.

That ball is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Jake is likely headed to the NFL.

“He's got a cult following,” said Mike Nolan, the coach of the Panthers, back on April 9.

“I know, there's a lot of people right now looking at him because of his leg strength. Both on his kickoffs as well as the field goals, but more importantly, the field goals.”

Jake’s goal is to be consistent. To do that, he’s simply putting one foot in front of the other.

“I know I'm never going to be perfect, but I'm a really big competitor, I think I expect a lot out of myself,” he added. “I'm trying to stay you know where my feet are and not let it get to between my ears.”

Jason Bristol on social media: Facebook | X

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