That’s Atkins in action, photo courtesy of the Seahawks. I got a few minutes with him toward the end of the season and he told me about his affinity for soccer.
Atkins, a second-year pro from Sarasota, Fla., said that soccer was the first organized sport he ever played, even before football.
“I had the biggest foot on the team, so my nickname was ‘Little Foot,'” Atkins said. “I just grew a love for that game, too, early on, and I played all the way up to high school.”
Even in high school, Atkins attended games and worked the game clock at times. He was a certified youth soccer official, too.
“It’s an incredible game. It’s amazing how they play and they’re very athletic as well,” Atkins said of soccer players. He was among a group of Seahawks who attended the Brazil-Canada friendly earlier this year at Qwest Field and also watched Brazil practice.
Atkins played all over the field as a soccer player. Because he was big and could run well and had a nice leg, he played halfback and ran everywhere.
If he wasn’t lined up in the box to head in corner kicks, Atkins was the one doing the corner kick.
“I had a nice little curve from out of the corner,” he said.
Atkins was always the biggest kid on his youth teams and eventually outgrew the sport. He’s now listed at 6-foot-4, 271 pounds. And it’s a fairly lean 271.
Soccer helped Atkins with his agility for other sports. He said he plans to attend Sounders FC games when the season begins.