TAMPA — Delbert Alvarado didn't have much interest in kicking balls. At least not footballs.
Alvarado was an aspiring soccer player at Robinson High School with dreams of one day wearing the colors of his native Honduras on the international pitch. Former Knights football coach Mike DePue, however, had different plans.
"Coach said he'd been watching me and thought I had a good leg," Alvarado said. "I told him I didn't much care for American football and didn't understand it."
DePue, unfazed, rephrased his approach.
"(DePue) said you don't have to understand," Alvarado recalled. "We're just going to turn the (soccer) goal upside down and all you have to do is score."
And so began Alvarado's new career path.
"I certainly didn't think at the time I would ever play Division I football, let alone pro football," he said. "But I couldn't be happier the way it has turned out."
Alvarado looks to extend his perfect extra-points streak tonight when the Storm hosts Jacksonville.
"One of my bucket list items has always been to suit up for the home team," Alvarado, 27, said. "To be able to do this in front of family and friends makes it pretty sweet."
After earning all-state honors as a junior at Robinson, Alvarado stayed at home for college and chose USF, despite interest from several larger programs.
"People kept asking me why I wanted to go (to USF) because they weren't really on the map yet," Alvarado said. "But I wanted to make my mark somewhere, not just continue in someone else's footsteps. I wanted to be a part of making a name for myself and help build a legacy."
Alvarado kicked at USF from 2006-09, arguably the program's best four-year stretch. The Bulls climbed as high as No. 2 in the national polls in 2007. Alvarado finished his career 91-of-93 in extra points and 26-of-47 on field goals.
"I think if Matt (Grothe) doesn't get hurt my senior year, we had a chance to do something real special," he said of the former Bulls QB. "I mean, we had nine of 11 guys on defense go on to play in the NFL. I don't think there will ever be a period like that again at USF."
Alvarado went to camp twice with the NFL's Cowboys and played a handful of games for Ottawa of the CFL. He got his chance with the Storm when Craig Peterson, who kicked in the first six games, started off this season 15-of-23 on extra points. All Alvarado has done in his three games is convert all 23 of his extra points.
"The uprights are obviously narrower, but the biggest thing is little tweaks here and there can cause a miss," he said. "In the outdoor game, you can catch a ball a little thin sometimes and it will still go. It's just more forgiving (outdoors)."
Alvarado isn't sure where his kicking odyssey will take him, but he has certainly come a long way from an upside down soccer goal on Robinson's football field.
"You hear about guys coming off the couch and going on to six or seven year careers, so there's always a chance" at the NFL, he said. "But if it doesn't work out, I would love to stay here and make my mark at home. I'm in the best possible position either way."
EX-ARMWOOD/GATOR signs with Storm: Tampa Bay added former Armwood High and Florida defensive tackle Torrey Davis this week. Davis, who won a national championship (2008) in his first two seasons at UF before transferring to Jacksonville State, has played the past five years in the CFL. He was a USA Today All-American in 2006 at Armwood.