Kicking a point against Lac qui Parle Valley was Sebastiano Beraldo with Tanner Sterzinger holding.

Getting a ‘kick’ out of football

He’s all of 5-8 in height and 135 pounds, but when he swings that leg of his, good things happen. Sebastiano Beraldo comes from a community near Venice, Italy and his exposure to football was non-existent.

“I love football. I always seen it in the movies,” said the kid his teammates just call Sebastiano. He’d tried his hand at kicking the soccer ball, but never a football — until he came to Minneota. “I never did,” Sebastiano said, adding, “I’d kicked the soccer ball, but I wasn’t very good.”

When he arrived in Minneota, which was a culture shock coming from a community of 80,000 people, he found the Minneota coaches interested in his ability to kick the ball. His love for football and chance to “meld” into the community of athletes found him accepting the challenge.

“The first time to practice they started me kicking. I kicked in JV (games) and practiced field goals. I started to get pretty good,” he chuckled. Then, about three weeks go, he got his chance.

He kicked the final point in a 53-27 route over Ortonville and ignited his chances to become the varsity kicker.

Since then, he’s the man they call when they need to kick.

Since then, he kicked four straight against Springfield in the Vikings one-sided win. At Lakeview, times were tougher. He kicked two, then missed the next attempts.

But in the 55-10 Minneota conquest of Lac qui Parle Valley in the final regular season game, Sebastino Beraldo missed his first attempt, then made seven straight extra point kicks. Tuesday night he hit seven of eight attempts against Yellow Medicine East. One bounced off the crossbar for a point and he missed one.

He recalls when he first came to practice after arriving from Italy, the coaches wanted to know if he was a soccer kicker.

“The first time in practice I tried to kick. Then they had me kick in JV games and about three weeks ago we tried to kick field goals in practice.” He felt he was getting pretty good at it. What he likes the most is being part of the team, of which he says, “They’re a good team.”

Coming to Minneota after being in a much larger community was a culture shock, but he found the people, “So nice,” and he’s caught on with his teammates.

After he kicked his first point against Ortonville, teammate AJ Myhre slapped him on the helmet and said, “Way to go Sebastiano.”

It brought a big smile to the Italian’s face and it hasn’t disappeared since. “I made friends,” he said, indicating, “Life is easier (in Minneota).” He calls it less stressful.

Offensive Coordinator Matt Myrvik said when Beraldo arrived he basically didn’t have any kicking experience.

“Really none. He may have kicked the soccer ball around a little bit.”

So the coaching staff decided he may have the ability, but to go slow and easy with him. “He just kept working at it,” said Myrvik.

“We needed a steady kicker and after he started kicking them through, we knew he was the one.” In the game at Lakeview, Beraldo suffered from what most warm-blooded Italians would suffer from.

“It was freezing out there and he’s had trouble adapting to the cold temperatures,” said Coach Myrvik.

He chuckled when he added, “I told the other players they have to help get him adapted to the cold weather.” So the coaching staff tends to put the Lakeview game in another category — the “Sebastiano was cold and couldn’t kick,” category.

“Since then he’s been great and asserted himself as our kicker,” said Coach Myrvik. Now it’s playoff time and the Vikings are in the hunt for another state championship.

They will go into it with the knowledge they have a steady kicker in Sebastiano Beraldo. That is, if it’s not cold. Otherwise, let’s hope his teamates find a way to keep him warm. It’s likely he’ll be wrapped in at least one big warm jacket.

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