Denmark’s Mathiesen Finds Home at Northwest Missouri State

Number 1-ranked NCAA D-2 school’s star placekicker is a long way from Vedbaek, Denmark

MARYVILLE, MISSOURI – An easygoing personality is a great trait to have as a placekicker. Northwest Missouri State senior Simon Mathiesen certainly has one.

Northwest football coach Adam Dorrel joked that last summer Mathiesen’s teammates kept comparing the number of Olympic medals the United States and Denmark had won.

“I think at one point it was 68 to 1,” Dorrel said.

Mathiesen took the good-natured teasing with a smile. From the day he arrived at Northwest in the fall of 2013 from Vedbaek, Denmark, Mathiesen has enjoyed being a student-athlete at Northwest.

“It has exceeded my expectations by a tremendous amount,” Mathiesen said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to be here. When I came to the States, I had no idea what Northwest Missouri State was about. I could have easily ended up in a bad place, but I ended up here.

“I am very grateful to be here. It has taught me a lot of things, not only about football, but life as well. I see myself as being very fortunate to be part of this program.”

The humor comes naturally for Mathiesen. Here are a few examples:

What is the difference attending college in the United States versus Denmark?

“We get paid to go to school in Denmark and here you pay for it.”

Since you were born in New York, you could run for President of the United States one day if wanted to.

“Please don’t print my answer.”

Mathiesen gave a humorous response and athletic director Mel Tjeerdsma chimed in during the casual interview about the upcoming Presidential election, but there is no place for political discussion in a Northwest football story.

This past weekend, 10,283 fans at Bearcat Stadium, the third largest crowd in Northwest history witnessed Northwest Missouri State’s 69-10 Homecoming victory over rival Pittsburg State on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, the play of the game occurred just before halftime.

It was Mathiesen last Homecoming game as a player and last time kicking against Pittsburg State.

An kicking is something Mathiesen did that better than any kicker in Division II in 2015. In fact, his 151 points was the most by all kickers at any NCAA level. He’s performed at a high level in big games during his time Missouri.

But fitting with his laidback personality, Mathiesen doesn’t put any extra pressure on himself when Northwest plays highly-regarded teams.

“I am kind of good at keeping my composure in big games,” Mathiesen said. “A kick here is not much different from a kick in practice or a kick in a less important game. That is the biggest thing you have to do as a kicker, be mentally tough and block out the distraction and the pressure of going into a game. Obviously, it is easy to get caught up and excited about you might have a big kick. But at the end of the day, you need to focus on your fundamentals and do what you always do.

Those insightful words show the level of Mathiesen’s intelligence. He has already earned a degree in business/economics and is working on a second degree in financial services.

“I will be done in December so Dr. J. will put a cap and gown on me one more time,” Mathiesen said of his second graduation ceremony that Northwest President, Dr. John Jasinski will preside over.

In addition to earning MIAA Special Teams Player of the Year in 2015, Mathiesen was also MIAA Scholar Athlete.

“He is very intelligent,” Dorrel said. “It is just cool to hear him talk where he grew up and what he wants to do when he gets older. He gives you perspective, an outsider’s look on Americans at times. It is awesome. He will tell it like it is.”

Mathiesen and his brother were born in New York City and lived in Manhattan for four years. His parents are Danish. They moved to New York in 1989.

It would seem that Mathiesen was already bilingual by the time he returned to Denmark as a 4-year-old. His parents taught him both languages while in New York.

“It is not like I remembered a lot of English from back then. Most of my English came from school in Denmark,” Mathiesen said. “We start learning English in third grade and go all the way through.”

Mathiesen also can speak German and French. He explains the practical reason why people from Denmark learn numerous languages.

“We are such a small country,” he said. “There are only 6 million people speaking Danish in the whole world. We have to learn to speak other languages as well.”

The one word Dorrel knows he will hear just about every time Mathiesen sets up for a kick is good.

“The thing I like about him is he has proven himself,” Dorrel said. “He has made big kicks in his career. On that outside chance he does miss, I know he will reset and won’t go mental on me for the rest of the game. Sometimes kickers cannot do that.”

And there is another thing Dorrel likes about Mathiesen.

“He will be a Bearcat for life,” Dorrel said. “It is cool we will have a Bearcat across the pond.”


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