BIRMINGHAM – He never played at Legion Field during his two-year career in the SEC.

But 35 years after his best chance of playing at the “Old Gray Lady,” his daughter did.

In soccer.

Last Sunday, U.S. women’s national team defender Julie Johnston was among the 17 players who played and contributed in the Americans’ 8-0 win over Haiti.

And as for her father?

“He played at LSU,” Johnston said.

David Johnston, father of Julie, was a two-year starting kicker for the Tigers during the 1980 and 1981 seasons.

So, of course, that also means he played Alabama, a former Legion Field tenant, twice.

In 1980, the sixth-ranked Crimson Tide defeated LSU, 28-7, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The then-No. 1 Crimson Tide, coming off back-to-back national titles in 1978 and 1979, had been upset by Mississippi State, 6-3, at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi a week earlier.

The next year, in 1981, David, a senior, lost again to Alabama – ranked No. 4 in the nation – 24-7 in the season opener for both schools at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

David, to his credit, converted both his extra point attempts across the two games.

For his career, David ranks fourth all time in career field goal percentage at LSU (80.95 percent).

During the 1980 season, in which LSU went 7-4, David made 6 of 8 field goal attempts – his longest from 42 – and 24 of 25 extra points. His game-winning 17-yard field goal with 35 seconds to go in a 23-20 win against Colorado at Tiger Stadium occurred 35 years to the day of Sunday’s game at Legion Field.

He also served as the team’s punter that season, averaging 39.0 yards per punt on 66 attempts.

In 1981, the Tigers dropped to 3-7-1 on the year, but David had more field goal tries, making 11 of 13 kicks – including a career-long 47-yarder – as well as 17 of 18 extra points. That season, he hit a 46-yard field goal with one second left in a 27-27 tie against Ole Miss in Jackson.

Prior to attending LSU, David played at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College. Julie was raised in Mesa, before moving to California to attend Santa Clara University in 2010, where she played on the soccer team.

Asked after her game Sunday if she had spoken to her father about Tuscaloosa, where Alabama was playing Ole Miss that evening, Julie spoke of Alabama’s passionate fan base.

“He just said, ‘Have fun’ and be careful what you say around there because they love their football,” Julie said with a laugh, adding that both the fans and experience in Tuscaloosa were “great.”

The then-second-ranked Crimson Tide fell 43-37 against the Rebels, though Julie and her teammates were unable to stay for the game.

During her game on Sunday, the fourth match of a 10-game Victory Tour celebrating the U.S.’s third Women’s World Cup title won this past summer in Canada, Julie started in her usual center back position, before making way at the start of the second half for substitute Whitney Engen. She scored the U.S.’s opening goal 53 seconds into the match on a corner kick from Kelley O’Hara.

In August, over a month after the U.S.’s 5-2 victory over Japan in the final, Julie was among the five U.S. players named to the Women’s World Cup All-Star Squad, along with Hope Solo, Meghan Klingenberg, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe. She was also one of eight finalists for the World Cup’s Golden Ball award, given to the best player of the tournament. (Lloyd took home the honor.)

After starting every game during the World Cup, Julie is a favorite to make the 18-player Olympic roster at next summer’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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