Former UVU men’s soccer player Matt Gay is making an impact in the NFLReading Time: 2 minutes
Matt Gay played 33 games for Utah Valley on the men’s soccer team between 2014-2016. Now, he is the starting kicker for the Los Angeles Rams. From the UVU soccer program to walk-on kicker to fifth-round NFL draft-pick, Gay found success in a rather unique way.
Gay started his collegiate athletic career at UVU, where he played forward for the Wolverines for a total of two seasons. During those two seasons he played 33 games including eight scored goals and five assists. He had key moments in his collegiate soccer career with the Wolverines including game-winning goals against San Jose State twice, Gonzaga and UC Riverside. He scored both goals in the 2-0 win against Gonzaga and was named WAC Player of the Week in 2014. At the end of his sophomore season in 2016, Gay elected to pursue a career in football.
Gay first tried out for BYU and Snow College where he got attention from the coaches, however, things did not pan out in either direction. Gay then attended a summer camp at the University of Utah, where he was offered a spot as a walk-on kicker.
At Utah, he initially came off the bench before ultimately winning over the starting kicker spot in 2017. He would go on to win the 2017 Lou Groza Award, which highlights the most elite kicker across college football, lead the nation in field goals and set a PAC-12 Conference record for made field goals.
From walk-on to one of the best kickers in the nation, Gay did not stop there. He would be drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 145th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. With the Buccaneers Gay set rookie records including longest field goal by a rookie, which he knocked in from 58 yards, most successful field goal attempts, most successful extra-point attempts, and most points scored by a rookie kicker.
Gay was ultimately released by the Buccaneers before signing with the LA Rams in 2020. During the Rams week 11 matchup against his former team in the Buccaneers, he hit the game-winning field goal to win 27-24. In the 2021-2022 season with the Rams, Gay has boasted 96 percent on field-goal percentage making 28 of his 29 attempts. Gay is also 40-41 on PAT’s this season, a career-best. Most recently in a first-round playoff matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, Gay went 2-2 on field goals, hitting from 37 and 46 yards. The Rams went on to win the game 34-11.
Gay continues his professional career with the Rams as they look to make a deep playoff run. He stands as arguably one of the most successful former Wolverines and continues to thrive at the next level.