By Jaylon Thompson / The Alliance
ATLANTA — Atlanta Legends head coach Kevin Coyle went through his usual recap of practice on Tuesday afternoon.
After talking about the effort and energy level of the team, Coyle paused and turned to kicker Younghoe Koo. He praised Koo for his game-winning field goal that sank the Memphis Express 23-20 on Sunday night.
The Atlanta Legends (2-3) continue a three-game home stand against the San Antonio Commanders this Sunday, March 17, at 4 p.m. ET at Georgia State Stadium. The game can be seen on the CBS Sports Network. Tickets to all Legends games are available here.
Then, Coyle presented Koo with some interesting news. Coyle announced that Koo was named The Alliance’s Special Teams Player of the Week.
“We have outstanding specialists and Koo has done a great job kicking for us,” Coyle said.
The entire team applauded in celebration. There was a mix of “Koooo” chants as the team congratulated him on the honor.
Koo was all smiles and was happy to receive the award. However, he mentioned that he couldn’t have done it without his teammates.
“It means a lot, but it means more to get this win,” Koo said. “(Long snapper) Jeff Overbaugh and (punter) Cameron Nizialek are great with the kicking operation and it makes my job a lot easier.”
Against the Express, Koo was 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts. He connected from 25, 35, and 38 yards to help the Legends improve to 2-3 overall. This season, Koo is a perfect 11-for-11 and has developed the clutch gene.
Koo has made game-winning field goals in consecutive weeks. He drilled a 33-yard field goal against the Arizona Hotshots in Week 4 and followed with a 35-yard field goal against the Express. Both kicks propelled the Legends to victory.
In his Week 5 postgame news conference, Coyle expressed his appreciation for his specialists’ group — “Koo and the Gang.” The group consists of Koo, Nizialek and Overbaugh, of course.
“Those guys are tremendous, and they do a great job,” Coyle said. “We were confident once we got the ball down deep in their (Express) territory. We knew we were going to be able to win the game.”
Koo is the first Legends player of the week recipient. The former Georgia Southern product has been dynamic since joining the Legends in training camp. He’s brought stability and developed into a reliable option for the special teams unit.
“I just try to focus on my job each day,” Koo said. “Kick by kick, I try to make it like a game-winner. I feel like that’s what it essentially is to me.”
The award is another milestone in Koo’s career. It’s been a long journey for the South Korea-born athlete. He grew up playing soccer and then picked up football in high school. Koo parlayed his success into kicking at Georgia Southern and eventually with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Koo is now making waves in The Alliance. He hopes to continue his success and help the team make the playoffs. His teammates have faith in him and can’t wait to see him progress.
“I have great confidence in our field-goal operation,” Nizialek said. “I know Jeff is going to snap a great ball and Koo will drain the kick.”
Overbaugh agrees. He is proud of the specialists and ecstatic to keep growing with the unit.
“It’s awesome and there is nothing better,” Overbaugh said. “It’s really great to be a part of this group and this team. There is a great team energy and chemistry. I feel like we are really resilient and it’s a blessing to be a part of this team.”
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Jaylon Thompson covers the Atlanta Legends for The Alliance of American Football. Follow him on Twitter JaylonThompson.