Montreal's Duval starred in soccer

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Damon Duval could have been a soccer star.

A member of the under-17 United States national soccer team, he was actually offered a contract to play professional soccer in Europe.

But he turned his back on the offer - and the Montreal Alouettes are happy about it.

Six years after that decision, Duval could be a key player in this afternoon's Grey Cup game against the Edmonton Eskimos.

The Montreal kicker/punter has been outstanding in his rookie campaign.

"I wouldn't trade him for the world," said offensive lineman Bryan Chiu, showing just how thrilled his teammates are.

Duval led the league in scoring with 191 points after nailing 73% of his field goals in the regular season.

The 25-year-old Louisiana native is the first rookie to win the CFL scoring derby since Winnipeg's George Fleming in 1963.

"And I am still probably better at soccer than football," said Duval.

But he choose football over soccer after high school for one simple reason: "Growing up I was the first guy (in my family) that was ever going to go to college," he explained.

Duval became one of the greatest punters/kickers in University of Auburn history before graduating in 2003.

His four-year Auburn stint caught the eye of the Alouettes and they tried to convince him to come north when he graduated.

Duval wanted to try the NFL.

After failing to crack the Jacksonville Jaguar lineup, the Als tried again in 2004 - but failed again when Duval joined the Atlanta Falcons' camp.

Finally this year, the Als got their man - and he has become a budding football star.


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