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Up close: Maikon Bonani

Posted Oct 31, 2012 by Joey Johnston

Updated Oct 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM

A continuing series that spotlights the personalities of USF football players. Today, it’s senior place-kicker Maikon Bonani.

Q: What Are Your Future Plans?

A: “Obviously, I’m going to pursue kicking the league (NFL). I have a degree in exercise science. I’m fascinated by the human body and how it works. I want to go into performance enhancement training. Not so much in the college field, but more in the private sector, like a strength coach or a speed coach. I interned at Saddlebrook last January to May and that really appealed to me. I’d like to be at a place where pro athletes come to train. The chance to make a good athlete even better is something I’d like to do.’‘

Q: What’s Your Earliest Athletic Memory?

A: “It’s a soccer ball. When you’re raised in Brazil, that’s a boy’s first gift always. I remember playing in my first tournament with the city’s competitive team. We went out of town, got on a bus and went without my parents. I think I was 8. I was a goalkeeper. In the finals, we went to a penalty-kick shootout. I stopped two PK’s and we won the tournament. It was huge. It was like a five-hour bus ride to get there. We stayed in a little school with our sleeping bags. I still have the medal. It’s back in Brazil in my grandparents’ house.’‘

Q: What’s Something People Don’t Know About You?

A: “I do enjoy playing tennis. I went to state a couple times (at Lake Wales High School) in singles and doubles. I won the district title. I don’t play tennis during the football season because I don’t want to roll an ankle or something like that. But I love the sport and I follow the ATP Tour. I’m a Roger Federer guy.’‘

Q: What Are You Favorite Sports Teams?

A: “I don’t have many favorites. In the NFL, I just appreciate the great games. Back home, obviously, it was the Brazilian National Soccer Team. I was 5 when they won (the World Cup) in 1994. I remember the people going crazy.’‘

Q: Who Is Your Favorite Athlete?

A: “I mentioned Roger Federer. He’s my favorite. I respect Peyton Manning a lot for what he has done for the game. I look at a kicker like Robbie Gould and admire how mechanically sound he is. I respect David Akers for his longevity and his mentality of being consistent.’‘

Q: What’s Your Greatest Athletic Accomplishment?

A: “I’m a huge believer in contributing overall to team’s success. It’s great to hit a game-winner. But I like games when I go perfect, even if it’s one field goal and four extra-points, as long as we win the game. Beating Notre Dame is something I’ll never forget. I hit an overtime field goal at Louisville and that was big. I missed one in regulation that could’ve won it and the whole team rallied around me. I got another shot at it.’‘

Q: Favorite Entertainer?

A: “I do enjoy watching Jeff Dunham, the ventriloquist. I like Johnny Depp. He just knows how to act. And Will Smith. There are no words to describe him.’‘

Q: Favorite Movie?

A: “Pirates of the Caribbean. I love the whole sequence.’‘

Q: Favorite TV Show?

A: “I just got into it. ‘Rules of Engagement.’ Love that show.’‘

Q: Favorite Class At USF?

A: “Biomechanics. Doing what I do, I’m self-taught. I never really had a kicking coach. I liked studying and seeing what my body goes through when I’m about to kick the ball. Very interesting.’‘

Q: Favorite Food?

A: “Mom’s cooking. Whatever she makes. She makes great Brazilian dishes. She makes a phenomenal steak. My dad does excellent barbecue. Overall, I’m a huge steak guy.’‘

Q: Your Dream Vacation Spot?

A: “I’ve been on cruises, but going over to Europe would be cool. I’d go to Italy first and from there, God willing, I’d like to go everywhere else.’‘

Q: Who’s The Most Impressive person You’ve Ever Met?

A: “My dad, Sidney Bonani. He taught me everything I know, him and my mom. I have tremendous respect for him. He taught me about working hard and being humble, things I really believe in.’‘

Q: Someone In History You’d Love To Meet?

A: “Roger Federer. I’m saddened that he’s going to retire some day. I’ve seen him play in person, but I’d love to meet him.’‘

Q: Where Will You Be In 10 Years?

A: “Well, I’d be 33. Hopefully if it works out, I’d still be in the league (NFL). I’d like to extend that as much as possible. If not, I’d like to be in my field, athletics and performance, either with my own business or working with a well-known trainer. I’ll be somewhere in America, not sure where. My parents moved here to give me a better education and a better chance at life. I still go back to Brazil and see family, but it’s different. I was so young when we left. My friends from back then are all gone. We never kept in touch. It’s tough to find them now. The time flies by. But I can’t complain. I love my life and I love the opportunities I’ve had here at USF.’‘

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