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Pat McAfee’s Co-Host Opts Out of Million Dollar Match as Playing Soccer With 9YO Girls Almost Knocked Him Out

Ayush Juneja

Pat McAfee Detests Hip Drop Tackle Rule but Expresses Hope for Replay Rule: "This Is Good News"

Pat McAfee hung up his cleats a long time ago, transitioning into the broadcasting world. Since then, he has made his name as one of the most entertaining faces in the sports media. Yet, despite this career shift, the ex-Colts man is still keeping in shape and recently announced his participation in a million-dollar soccer tournament. His co-host, however, isn’t following suit.

McAfee will be participating in The Soccer Tournament (TST) alongside JJ Watt. The tourney will be played in the summer from June 5th to 10th at WakeMed Soccer Park in North Carolina. The 48-team 7v7 event has a prize pool of a whopping $1 million for the winner.

However, during a recent episode of the Pat McAfee show, co-host AJ Hawk, who is also the Packers’ all-time tackling leader, revealed that he also got the invite to play in the tournament, but he ultimately chickened out. Narrating a past anecdote, Hawk stated that playing and heading the cold ball against 9-year-old girls in cold weather left him dazed, which is why he won’t be playing.

Pat, on the other hand, will be putting in all his effort in a sport he played before his NFL career. As per the Sun, the former Colts punter played soccer for the better part of his teens.

Playing as a forward as well as a defender, he was a three-year first-team all-Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League star at Plum High. He then joined West Virginia University, where he played both soccer and football before realizing he was better off trying his luck as a punter and a kicker.

He had realized that he liked the thrill of the finish and decided that kicking the ball and taking three steps was better than running 3 miles. However, transitioning from the gridiron to the goalpost won’t be easy.

Surviving Warm-Up Will Be Tough at His Age, Pat McAfee Says

During the show, McAfee asserted that playing in the 140-degree Fahrenheit (Carolina heat) will be a tough ask, but before he steps foot on the field for an actual matchup, he would have to survive the warm-up.

Reflecting on his younger years, McAfee admitted to taking warm-ups for granted at the age of 14 or 15. However, he later realized their significance when he began to make an impression in the second half of games, despite struggling initially.

“Dude, I am legitimately thinking in my head, trying to remind myself what it was like when I was 13, 14, 15 years old, going to these tournaments and what my mindset was like. Just warming up back in the day, I just took it for granted,” McAfee said. “Then if I had a slow start to the game like I didn’t care and then like I’ll get the good 2nd half. Right now my mindset is like I got to survive warmup because warm-up is going to be enough.”

He will be playing the opposite of JJ as a player and co-manager of The Concafa SC, while Watt will be playing for his co-owned team Burnley FC.

Watt’s wife, Kealia Watt, a former soccer forward for the USWNT, will also be competing in the women’s tournament. Though the tournament would be 7v7, it would still be about 40 minutes long, with 20 minutes in each half, though a regulation-size field won’t be used. It will be interesting to see teams from all over the world compete.

About the author

Ayush Juneja

Ayush Juneja


Ayush Juneja is an NFL Journalist at the SportsRush. New to Gridiron, he has been following the sport for past 9 months and has authored over 400 articles so far. As a sports enthusiast and a true adrenaline junkie, he finds the physical side of sports to be more thrilling and engaging. A big fan of Liverpool F.C., he now roots for another red team in San Francisco 49ers and would love to see a match at Levi's Stadium and Michigan Stadium. American culture and politics fascinates him and would love to experience it first hand.

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