Josh Lambo ready to prove Chargers made right decision

Josh Lambo has gone from a soccer prodigy to an undrafted free agent to the Chargers' starting placekicker. Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO -- Just like San Diego Chargers chairman Dean Spanos provided him with his first head coaching job, Mike McCoy said undrafted rookie kicker Josh Lambo just needed an opportunity.

“Dean Spanos took a risk on me,” McCoy said. “So there’s a first time for everybody. If you don’t get a chance, how is anybody going to know? We’re doing what we think is best for our football team.”

After endless conversations between coaches, front office executives and the scouting department, McCoy said the organization made the tough decision of taking on a talented but unproven kicker over a known commodity in veteran Nick Novak.

Lambo said he was at Chargers Park getting a workout in when Chargers special teams coordinator Kevin Spencer called him to let him know he made the final roster.

“I’m not really focused on the hype or excitement about it because the job is just now starting,” Lambo said. “So I need to go out there and prove myself Week 1 against Detroit. And I need to make the ownership and the coaches happy with their decision.”

A top goalkeeping prospect at 17 years old, Lambo was drafted No. 8 overall in the 2008 Major League Soccer draft by FC Dallas. However, he suffered a setback when he broke his jaw in a reserve game.

Lambo said the coach that drafted him also got fired his rookie season, and things never got on track for him. Lambo moved on from soccer in 2012 and took up kicking when he went back to finish school at Texas A&M.

Lambo never played football growing up but found success on the field for the Aggies, making 21 of 25 attempts (83.3%) over two seasons.

Lambo, 24, joked that he thought kicking was way too boring for him back when he played soccer. But fast forward three years, and Lambo will take the field as the starting kicker for the Chargers on Sunday against the Lions.

“I’m very happy with the decisions I’ve made,” Lambo said. “This opportunity is very validating for me, because I could have continued playing soccer. But I decided to retire because I didn’t like the opportunities thrown my way. This is just hopefully the beginning of a long and successful career here with the Chargers.”

Lambo said being around Novak taught him how to be a pro.

“It’s been good to be around a guy like him to see how he goes about his business,” Lambo said. “You don’t have to have a conversation from someone to learn from them. So I watched him a bunch, and I definitely took some things away from him.”