He was Sgt. Nathan Noble, in charge of a squad of 12 infantry marines in Iraq. That was six years ago. Today, Noble, 29, is a field goal- kicking YouTube sensation and a potential walk on at the University of Wyoming. In this week’s Sports Illustrated, Justin Heckert examines how Noble is rediscovering his sense of purpose through football (PAGE 57).
After returning from three tours of duty and working a string of odd jobs, Noble found himself in his home, coaching Georgetown College soccer, attending the University of Kentucky and kicking footballs incredible distances in his free time. His life was respectable and normal until local news outlets began covering his extraordinary ability to send footballs sailing through the goal post from over 50 yards away— consistently. Soon, offers to walk on from elite football programs all over the country were flooding Noble’s door and it was clear his life was heading in a different direction. As more and more programs gained interest, Noble was forced to turn them away. He had previously decided to complete his last year in college at Wyoming.
“You have an uphill battle at one of those bigger schools,” said Devin Barclay, Noble’s friend who had retired from Major League Soccer at 22 and walked on at Ohio State as a placekicker in 2009. “But at Wyoming it’s probably a perfect fit; he could really have a chance to make an impact”.