COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge soccer player Carmen Boessen has no fear, which is what makes her capable of performing one of soccer’s most difficult and most dangerous moves — the bicycle kick.
To perform a bicycle kick, a player throws her body up into the air, moving one leg high overhead to reach the ball, which then gets kicked backwards over the player’s head.
Boessen, a sophomore, showed off her acrobatic move during the first half of Monday night’s 3-0 win over visiting Troy Buchanan.
With the Bruins in Troy Buchanan's territory, the Trojans were trying to get the ball out of their zone. It appeared that the ball would go over Boessen's head, when she hit the bicycle kick to send it back towards the net. Just a few minutes later, junior Sarah Humphrey scored the Bruins' first goal.
“Carmen tries to learn something new every time she steps on the field,” Rock Bridge coach Marc VanDover said. “You have to have no fear to hit a bicycle kick, which she doesn’t. She’s proven herself to be the player that we can’t take off the field.”
Boessen said she can’t recall exactly when she learned how to hit a bicycle kick, but said that her former coach could do it. When she became athletic enough, she was finally able to hit the move by imitating what her coach did.
It is uncommon to see a high school player make a bicycle kick. In a 2003 article in "The Guardian" Pelé, arguably one of the greatest soccer players of all time, said the move was even hard for him.
“The bicycle kick is not easy to do," Pele was quoted as saying. "I scored 1,283 goals and only two or three were bicycle kicks."
Besides being difficult to do, bicycle kicks often result in a high kick call from referees, giving the ball to the other team. Boessen said bicycle kicks make it hard to aim the ball since its difficult to find your target while falling backwards. The move is also dangerous. After kicking the ball, players often land hard on their backs.
“It’s my last resort move, but I should think more because I’m pretty sure I could get really hurt doing this,” Boessen said. “Sometimes I fall, and it hurts really bad, but mostly, it just gets me pumped up.”
VanDover said Boessen is the only Bruins player that is able to hit a bicycle kick.
"Sometimes, a couple of girls will try it in practice when they’re goofing around, but not in a game," VanDover said. "I haven’t seen too many be able to do it.”
During Rock Bridge’s win on Monday, Boessen scored the second goal for the Bruins during the final minute of the first half, when she headed in a corner kick from teammate senior Morgan Pitchford. Senior Kelsey Reimler scored Rock Bridge's third goal in the final minute of the game.
With the win, Rock Bridge improves to 6-5 this season.