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Houston Texans

Dynamo defender stops by for kicks


Craig Waibel of the Houston Dynamo stopped by the Methodist Training Center following the Texans' afternoon practice on Sunday for a field-goal session for charity with Texans kicker Kris Brown. In a fantastic showing, the Dynamo defender nailed a field goal from as far as 63 yards.

On the line with each of Waibel's kicks were free tickets for children at the Methodist Hospital to see the Dynamo take on five-time Mexican league champion Pachuca in their upcoming SuperLiga semifinal contest in Houston.

With Brown serving as the holder and imparting techniques on how to approach and kick the ball, Waibel, who had never before kicked a football, nailed eight of his orginally scheduled 10 attempts ranging in distance from 20 to 55 yards.

But after Waibel made a 55-yarder on his final kick, Brown wanted to see if Waibel could match his own career high with a 57-yarder. Waibel took one shot at it and went wide left, then nailed it with room to spare on his second try.

Then, the Houston Chronicle's John McClain implored that Waibel try a 63-yarder to equal Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam's NFL record. Waibel hooked it left twice before sailing the ball straight down the uprights on his third attempt.

Not a bad day's work for a first-time kicker.

"As I backed up, it's easy when you have a guy (Brown) that's done it this long and says, 'Oh, you're just hitting it a half-inch wrong. Aim it three feet to the right,'" Waibel said. "When you have a caddy like this, it's pretty simple to do.

"The stroke is actually oddly similar to striking the long ball, which as a defender in soccer, that's what I do most of the time. But it's the little things that make him a pro and make the rest of us spectators on Sundays."

With an eye on holding on to his roster spot, Brown was just glad that head coach Gary Kubiak wasn't watching.

"It's very impressive," Brown said. "I mean, there are not many people that can come out here and let alone make a 20-yarder, and then to back up like we did...

"I'm a little scared with all these cameras because I think (Kubiak) will be watching later on. (Waibel) did a great job. Again, it's amazing to have somebody come out and be able to kick the ball like that. It's not an easy thing to do."

As a result of the event, Waibel will send 30 children from Methodist to Tuesday night's game at Robertson Stadium.

"For us, it's exciting to be able to provide opportunities like that for the kids," Brown said. "To give kids that opportunity to go and experience a Dynamo game or come to a Texans game, at least for the two hours or three hours that they're at a game, whatever issues that they have going on in their life, they forget about it. To me, that's what this is all about is being able to provide those opportunities for those kids."

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