Joey Julius has made a name for himself this season as a hard-tackling former soccer player turned placekicker for Penn State with a couple videos of his tackles going viral.
But the latest headlines about the former Philadelphia Union Academy forward have nothing to do with football or soccer.
Julius went public in a post on his Facebook page Monday about his struggles with an eating disorder that kept him out of spring and summer practices with the Nittany Lions.
“I was admitted into the McCallum place on may 9th for eating disorders,” he wrote. “Due to my increase in not only weight but also depression and anxiety my team physicians started to notice not only a change in my overall happiness but also my performance as a normal human being. Throughout this whole process I learned a lot about myself. I learned that for the last 11 years of my life I have suffered through a disorder known as binge eating disorder.”
Listed at 5-foot-10 and 258 pounds, Julius’s stature at a position usually occupied by the smallest guy on the team made him an instant hit with college football fans when he debuted last season. While his performances varied last season - he missed four extra points - a pair of punishing hits (here and here) he’s put on return men as the kickoff specialist have made him a viral video sensation this season.
At the end of his Facebook post he encouraged anyone struggling to reach out.
After a long consideration of not only myself, my family, and my team I have decided to go public about my absence from...Posted by Joey Julius on Sunday, October 2, 2016
Julius was part of the Philadelphia Union Academy system as a member of club affiliate PA Classics and played a key role in the Philadelphia Union U17 team that won the 2012 Generation adidas Cup. He initially committed to play college soccer at SIU Edwardsville but backed out of his commitment to walk on at Penn State.
We wish Joey all the best in his continued fight.