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Kicker feels at home in River Falls

October 26, 2006

So far this season the Falcon football team hasn’t been perfect. Though they have a record of 3-4, kicker Spasimir Bodurski still has high spirits.

Bodurski, more commonly known as Spas, transferred to UW-River Falls from Southeast Missouri State University where he was also on the kicking squad for its Division IAA football team.

“In Missouri I was the kick-off guy, but I really wanted to do field goals,” Bodurski said.

He wasn’t fond of the school or Missouri in general, so when the team made a change ith its coaching staff he took it as an opportunity to transfer.

Now, Bodurski is a fifth-year senior studying accounting and finance. He is set to graduate in December and head to St. Cloud to work on a master’s degree. While working on his master’s he plans to accept an internship offer in the finance field.

Bodurski said he has had a decent season so far. He was named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) special teams player of the week after the victory over UW-Stevens Point on Oct. 14. He also received that title last year when he kicked a 33-yard winning field goal against UW-Oshkosh.

This season he is six for 11 in field goals, with his longest kick being 42 yards against Pacific Lutheran University. During practice, however, he managed to kick a 65-foot field goal.

“I had a strong wind behind me,” Bodurski said.

Last season Bodurski set a school record by kicking a 47-yard field goal in the game against UW-Platteville.

“I try not to look at those things [statistics] because they can piss me off,” he said.

Even though Bodurski enjoys kicking field goals, his favorite position with the UWRF Falcons is with the kick-off team.

“I take a lot of pride in my kick-offs,” he said. “Our kick-off team is pretty good; I think it’s one of our strengths.”

Bodurski found himself in River Falls after transferring from Missouri, but his journey did not start there. He was born in Bulgaria and moved to Minnesota as part of a student exchange program in 2001. He found himself in Cannon Falls, Minn., an hour southeast of the Twin Cities, and spent his senior year at Randolph High School.

“The education in Bulgaria is good, but there are not a lot of job opportunities,” Bodurski said. “There isn’t a lot of job security.”

When Bodurski signed up for the exchange program he was asked to select activities from a list that he’d like to take part in. He chose football thinking it was soccer under the European word for the sport. When he was handed a helmet on the first day of practice he chose to give the sport a chance, even though it was not what he intended to do.

“Now I love football; it’s my favorite sport,” he said. “I play it, watch it and follow it nonstop.”

In Bulgaria he played soccer for a U18 national soccer team, but hasn’t gone back to the sport since getting involved with American football.

Before arriving in the United States he knew he wanted to graduate and go to college. When choosing where to go he looked for schools that would offer him the degree programs he wanted and would let him play football.

“I knew I was going to go to college,” he said. “I love football, and that was a major factor in my choice.”

Bodurski left his family in Bulgaria, including parents, and a brother and sister who are both 11 years old, but not twins.

He goes back about once each year and said he will encourage his brother and sister to take part in a student exchange program when they get older.

“At first I thought everything here was different -- really spread out and cold,” he said. “But now I like it. There’s a lot to like about being here.”