Punter from down under shares American experience


“The coolest Aussie you’ll ever meet,” sophomore long snapper T.J. Harvey said about punter Matt Bromell. “He’s a cafeteria food connoisseur, a wildlife expert and has a massive leg.”

Growing up in Australia, Matt Bromell spent his childhood playing tennis, basketball and Australian football. 

“Australian football involves a lot of punting,” Bromell said. “It’s a similar kind of football so the skills translate over to American football.” 

After spending 10 months learning how to punt at a training academy in Melbourne, Bromell received a call from Southern Miss tight ends coach Reed Stringer. 

“We were really just combing all over the world for a punter,” head coach Jay Hopson said. “We came across Matt, and we began a dialogue and then certainly talked to his coaches. We got more and more details about him, and we found that this was a guy we may like.”

Without hesitation, Bromell accepted the offer considering it a great opportunity. 

“I flew over for fall camp, and it’s been going ever since that,” Bromell said. “I wanted to challenge myself and do something different. I had kind of fallen out of love with Australian football. It was getting a bit repetitive, and I thought it was a great opportunity to come over here and play.”

Since then, Bromell has found his place on the Southern Miss football team. After adjusting to the heat and humidity that come along with living in the southern region of the United States, Bromell felt more comfortable kicking. 

“Training and practice was really intense definitely. It’s on another level than it is from Australian football back home,” Bromell said. 

Bromell has had seven attempts throughout the 2019 season, including a 46-yard punt against North Texas, which his father was able to witness. 

“My dad was able to get to the North Texas game and see me get a kick so that was pretty awesome,” Bromell said. “He didn’t know the rules of the game, so I had to try and explain to him when I’m actually meant to come on and punt.”

Since Bromell is 9,357 miles from home, he has had to form new relationships with his teammates. 

“He’s a guy that has fit right in. That specialists group, that is a group in itself right there, so fitting into that group is saying something,” Hopson said. 

Bromell’s roommate and teammate Ryan Schemtob has guided Bromell through American culture and the good and bad that comes with it. 

“That’s the thing too [with him] being from Australia; a lot of the culture shocks here I can mess around with him, and he doesn’t understand it,” Schemtob said. 

Other than differences such as how Americans tip, the Aussie has seen how passionate Americans can be especially when it comes to athletics. 

“[They are] much, much more intense especially in sport,” Bromell said. “I just feel like the overall capacity of sport is so much higher here, and the demand for it is just crazy. Whatever channel you put on TV, there are just stats thrown at you. It’s unbelievable.”

During his season with the Golden Eagles, Bromell has punted in front of over 90,000 people during the Sept. 21 game at Alabama. The scale in which Americans consume sports “is crazy” to Bromell. 

Schemtob sees how Bromell inspires others. 

“Everyone has their own role, so he plays a big role,” Schemtob said. “[Bromell] shows you can keep chasing the dream even if you live on the entire different side of the world. He came over here and made it happen.”