Forgive Steven Hauschka if he was a bit star struck at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday night, when the Seattle venue the Seahawks kicker calls home during the NFL season was instead host to a Copa America match between the national teams of Argentina and Bolivia.
Hauschka, who played soccer for 19 years starting from the time he was a toddler, was part of a small Seahawks contingent that also included wideout Jermaine Kearse who were in attendance at last night's match hoping to get a glimpse of one of the world's best, Argentina forward Lionel Messi. Not only did Hauschka get to see Messi and his teammate Sergio Aguero lead the their club to a 3-0 victory, but the pair of Seattle players got to meet the Argentine stars post-match.
"It's just cool to touch greatness like that, I'm hoping some of it rubs off on me just from the handshake," Hauschka said with a laugh following the Seahawks' second of three minicamp practices on Wednesday of his encounter with Messi. "But yeah, I got to talk to Sergio Aguero too, he's very talented, one of the top players. Neither of them are very big guys either, but it's amazing that Messi's considered one of the best ever, maybe the best.
"A very cool experience being able to meet him."
The awe-inspiring affair came hours after Hauschka, Kearse, and several other Seahawks players mingled with members of the U.S. Men's National Team at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. The USMNT is also in town this week for a Copa America match to be played Thursday night, one Hauschka said he's looking forward to attending.
"It was good to meet the guys," Hauschka said. "I'm a big USA fan. I'm going to be there tomorrow night supporting, I supported them at the World Cup a couple years ago. I really just love what they represent. There aren't many sports that we can play at the world level and compete, and that's one of them because every country in the world plays soccer. It's a global game. It's cool for those guys to be representing our country."