Entering this season, Peter Veldman just wanted a
He watched from the bench his freshman year at the
University of Pennsylvania, then split time with two other
kickers during the 2001 season. All three returned this
season, leaving a giant question mark over who would play.
"I was fighting for my football career,"
A 2000 St. Joseph's High School graduate, Veldman
emerged as Penn's No. 1 kicker and did his share to help
Penn capture the Ivy League crown with an undefeated
league record of 7-0 (9-1 overall).
Indeed, Veldman responded with an unforgettable season,
culminating in his unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection
and third-team NCAA Division I-AA All-American selection.
"Everything that happened far exceeded what I
expected this year," he said modestly.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, he kicked a
perfect 43 for 43 extra-point attempts and set a Penn
record for most extra-points in a season. He also
connected on 12 of 15 field goals, including a career long
His 79 total points, which led his team and the entire
Ivy League in scoring, was the second highest
single-season point total by a kicker in the school's
In addition to his feats on the field, the biology
major was named to the Fall Academic All-Ivy team. Medical
school awaits, with Vanderbilt his first choice.
One year remains to top this memorable season. Could a
stop in the National Football League push back those
"Not unless they want me to be the team
doctor," quipped Veldman, the son of Tom and Anita
Veldman of Granger.
His path to success differs from your typical college
athlete. He didn't spend his summer sweating in a training
room or practicing with his teammates.
Instead, he returned to Camp John Marc for the third
The camp, located near Dallas, helps more than a
thousand children suffering from such disabilities as
muscular dystrophy, spina bifida and burn survivors.
Each week features a different disability, allowing the
children to spend time with peers and experience what
Veldman described as "the best week of their
It certainly has had a profound impact on him, too.
"It gives you perspective on life. You learn to
see people as people, not the first thing that pops into
your head about them," he explained.
These special children have impacted his life more than
any football accolades could.
The camp ensured Veldman could practice kicking by
installing goal posts on the grounds. He even gave eager
campers lessons on kicking.
His All-American status befits Veldman, not just for
his football prowess, but also for being a true role