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BuckeyeRed27
03-23-2011, 08:52 PM
http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/blog/_/name/schaerlaeckens_leander/id/6250882/day-one-ochocinco-experiment

Had his first day of a four day tryout with Kansas City's MLS team Sporting KC. From the article it doesn't sound like he will be suiting up for the National Team anytime soon.

Yachtzee
03-23-2011, 10:37 PM
Chad allegedly has pretty good footskills for an NFL player. I think this goes to show you that it takes more than athletic talent to be good at soccer. There is a lot of precision involved that one can only get through years of training.

Eric_the_Red
03-24-2011, 11:55 AM
Chad has frequently got winded and cramped up in his career playing a game where he runs a lot less than needed in soccer. Don't see how he would ever make it in MLS without serious changes to his conditioning.

DirtyBaker
03-24-2011, 01:57 PM
33 is really getting up there for the average soccer player. Aside from goalkeepers, good players don't make it much past 35. I hate to say it but the only way Chad makes it onto an MLS roster at his age is as a very late game substitute/marketing ploy.

BuckeyeRed27
03-24-2011, 02:34 PM
I give Chad credit for very publically putting himself out there like this in a situation where he will probably fail. I am pretty interested to see how he stacks up just from a pure athletic stand point. I don't find it all that surprising that he is struggling though.

Caveat Emperor
03-24-2011, 03:41 PM
It all reminds me of one my favorite "What If" games to play around World Cup time...

What if every top-flight American athlete had grown up wanting to be a professional soccer player instead of a Football/Baseball/Basketball star.

I'm sure quite a few of them would have been amazing, given their raw abilities.

bucksfan2
03-24-2011, 03:45 PM
It all reminds me of one my favorite "What If" games to play around World Cup time...

What if every top-flight American athlete had grown up wanting to be a professional soccer player instead of a Football/Baseball/Basketball star.

I'm sure quite a few of them would have been amazing, given their raw abilities.

Chad probably could have been a good soccer player had he devoted his time to playing soccer. He seems like has the body structure to be a striker.

FWIW I can see Chad and Sporting KC make some kind of deal that Chad makes the club as a mascot type player if football isn't being played. But I don't know about roster limitations and such.

Yachtzee
03-24-2011, 06:21 PM
Chad probably could have been a good soccer player had he devoted his time to playing soccer. He seems like has the body structure to be a striker.

FWIW I can see Chad and Sporting KC make some kind of deal that Chad makes the club as a mascot type player if football isn't being played. But I don't know about roster limitations and such.

I think at this point, he'd probably be better off as a goalkeeper. All those years of physical training for football probably makes it difficult for him to be anything other than a goalie or a headball specialist on set pieces. He's trained most of his life for short bursts of sprinting followed by breaks between plays. In a way he's probably more like a sprint specialist in track and field. Soccer players, on the other hand, tend to be built more like distance specialists because they have to spend so much running. Top strikers and midfielders often run the equivalent of a 10K during a game. It may alternate between sprints off the ball, dribbles, and jogs into position, but a good player is always moving. The only breaks come with set pieces or injuries. No time outs.

I've never subscribed to the notion that, if America's top athletes played soccer instead of other sports, the US would have an incredible team. If you look at some of the best soccer teams and players in the world, many of them aren't the ginormous physical specimens you find in US pro sports. Heck, Barcelona is considered one of the best teams in the world. I'm only 5'9" and I'm taller than or as tall as half their team. Many of them probably wouldn't be tall enough to excel in US pro sports, but they are absolutely amazing at soccer. Even if you look at a tall guy like Tottenham's Peter Crouch, he's rather skinny and lanky compared to the sides of beef you see in the NFL, NBA and even MLB. The problem with the US isn't the lack of athleticism in their soccer players. The USMNT is plenty athletic and can run with just about any team out there. It's the lack of top-flight experience that's missing. It's getting better as more Americans turn up in the top UEFA leagues, but we still have a ways to go.

BuckeyeRed27
03-24-2011, 06:45 PM
http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6254842/chad-ochocinco-says-mls-trial-no-joke

Sounds like Day 2 went a little better

WMR
03-24-2011, 08:20 PM
I'm impressed at the humility Chad has shown here and I'm pulling for him to do well. Sounds like he is already showing marked improvement his second day.

bucksfan2
03-25-2011, 09:36 AM
I've never subscribed to the notion that, if America's top athletes played soccer instead of other sports, the US would have an incredible team. If you look at some of the best soccer teams and players in the world, many of them aren't the ginormous physical specimens you find in US pro sports. Heck, Barcelona is considered one of the best teams in the world. I'm only 5'9" and I'm taller than or as tall as half their team. Many of them probably wouldn't be tall enough to excel in US pro sports, but they are absolutely amazing at soccer. Even if you look at a tall guy like Tottenham's Peter Crouch, he's rather skinny and lanky compared to the sides of beef you see in the NFL, NBA and even MLB. The problem with the US isn't the lack of athleticism in their soccer players. The USMNT is plenty athletic and can run with just about any team out there. It's the lack of top-flight experience that's missing. It's getting better as more Americans turn up in the top UEFA leagues, but we still have a ways to go.

What you are describing are basically guards in basketball and defensive backs and running backs in football. Just check out this NCAA tournament and wonder what US soccer would look like if all those PG's were playing soccer. The two Florida guards, Kemba Walker, the Jimmer all playing striker or midfielders. Then you have your bigger/taller guys playing on the defensive end. And FWIW I think Americans will always have the best GK because of the hand eye sports growing up.

texasdave
03-25-2011, 08:01 PM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has caught a break.


His budding soccer career, which even he admits is a long shot, has been extended to include a practice game with a Major League Soccer team.
Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/soccer/03/25/ochocinco-mls.ap/index.html#ixzz1HegWTSOn

Yachtzee
03-26-2011, 07:51 PM
What you are describing are basically guards in basketball and defensive backs and running backs in football. Just check out this NCAA tournament and wonder what US soccer would look like if all those PG's were playing soccer. The two Florida guards, Kemba Walker, the Jimmer all playing striker or midfielders. Then you have your bigger/taller guys playing on the defensive end. And FWIW I think Americans will always have the best GK because of the hand eye sports growing up.

The USMNT would probably be the same as it is now. Being good at basketball or American Football has no bearing on how good a soccer player one would be. Soccer is more than just innate athletic ability. There is a lot more to it than just running, jumping and kicking a ball. Look at a guy like Freddy Adu. By all accounts, not only is he an amazing athlete, but he's had the tremendous footskills to be drafted by the MLS at age 14. He's been playing pro soccer since then and he's now 21. Yet even with all that athleticism and experience, he can't crack Benfica's lineup, so he just keeps getting loaned out and is right now playing in the Turkish Second Division. The USMNT already has plenty of guys who are taller, more athletic, and can run just as if not further than many top European and South American national teams. The problem is not athleticism and no amount of top athletes we throw into soccer is going to change that, hypothetical or not. Soccer is a game that requires the mental awareness of being able to sort out space and position of 22 players on a field larger than a football field with no timeouts. It is mental just as much as it is physical. You can't use your body and brute strength to get through the other team in soccer like you can in football and basketball. You have to have the ability to avoid contact, create space and predict the moves of your teammates and your opponents. Sure you might see a PG do something like that in basketball, but there's a big difference between a small basketball court and a huge soccer pitch. And you have to do it all with your feet.

The difference between the US and the top soccer countries is that they have over 100 years of professional experience in the sport and we have maybe half that at most and really only a couple decades worth of what could be considered a First Division league.

We as a country produce more top flight athletes in more sports than just about any country in the World. Look at our Olympic teams. Between the Winter and Summer Games, we have regularly been the top medal winners in sports where most athletes are either amateurs or pros making little more than they would make at a regular 40 hour/wk. job. If it comes to pure athletics, the US can beat anyone. We have the training facilities that can make athletes run faster, jump higher and throw farther than any other country. But there are just some sports where you can't just throw an athlete in there and just expect them to excel. We lack experience and intelligence in soccer, not athleticism.

bucksfan2
03-28-2011, 09:43 AM
Re:Yachtzee

I fully understand what you say. I guess the way I look at it if your best athletes are playing soccer from a young age you are going to be much better. And what you said about the US is spot on, the probably have the best athletes in the world along with the natural geography that lends to all different kinds of athletes.

Landon Donavan is widely considered the best American soccer player. Now lets assume that there were 5 Landon Donavans playing side by side growing up. Or instead of Kemba Walker shooting a basketball growing up he decided to kick one. I guess my who belief is that if your best athletes are playing soccer then that leads to the younger generation playing soccer.

Redsfaithful
03-28-2011, 12:10 PM
I mean isn't the question who would be a better soccer player if given equal training and experience, Landon or Kemba? If you still think it'd be Landon then you don't think athleticism means that much. I'd think an average NFL DB/WR or NBA PG is going to be a better raw athlete than a lot of pro soccer players, but maybe I'm wrong.

NJReds
03-28-2011, 12:42 PM
Nice story about Chad on SportsCenter today. Glad he's getting a chance to play with the KC practice squad today.

Hoosier Red
03-28-2011, 02:40 PM
I mean isn't the question who would be a better soccer player if given equal training and experience, Landon or Kemba? If you still think it'd be Landon then you don't think athleticism means that much. I'd think an average NFL DB/WR or NBA PG is going to be a better raw athlete than a lot of pro soccer players, but maybe I'm wrong.

I think Yachtzee's probably not too far off for the reasons he mentioned. On an international level, the United States is almost always the most athletic team on the pitch.

When the United States beat Spain 2 years ago, they did it by running and running the spaniards to death. Generally the US is physically as strong if not stronger then their competitors. Maybe if you were drawing from a pool which included the likes of Lebron and Kobe and Drew Stubbs you'd be able to be that much more athletic that actual technical ability wouldn't matter, but I doubt it.

However, in terms of technical ability, Lebron James skills may just be better suited to Basketball then soccer.
The fact that Chad played both through high school doesn't show much as at the high school level, I imagine a guy who was somewhat miscast could in fact be pretty dominant due to his superior athleticism.

When the US played Argentina on Saturday night, the best player on the field was Lionel Messi. A 5'-7" striker. Certainly he's not the biggest, fastest(well he may be the fastest) or best conditioned athlete in Argentina, but he's easily the best soccer player, if not in the world than he's #1 or #2.

BuckeyeRed27
03-28-2011, 02:45 PM
When the US played Argentina on Saturday night, the best player on the field was Lionel Messi. A 5'-7" striker. Certainly he's not the biggest, fastest(well he may be the fastest) or best conditioned athlete in Argentina, but he's easily the best soccer player, if not in the world than he's #1 or #2.

Yeah the US was only able to get a draw because they were athletic and were able to keep getting some good counter strikes and eventually scored on a set play. However they were largely outplayed and the passing abaility and the vision was clearly better for Argentina and it is against almost every the US plays.

So what happens if 85 nets a hat trick tonight?

Hoosier Red
03-28-2011, 02:47 PM
It's funny though I think a lot of basketball players would make really good goalkeepers. But if there's one spot the United States has had pretty well covered over the past 20 years, it's been GK.

Caveat Emperor
03-28-2011, 03:17 PM
We lack experience and intelligence in soccer, not athleticism.

So maybe the question isn't: Would the United States be a better soccer-playing nation if guys like Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Chad Ochocinco played soccer?

Maybe the question is: Would the United States be a better soccer-playing nation if guys like Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson, and Mike Krzyzewski had grown up soccer players and became soccer coaches?

Hoosier Red
03-28-2011, 03:23 PM
So maybe the question isn't: Would the United States be a better soccer-playing nation if guys like Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Chad Ochocinco played soccer?

Maybe the question is: Would the United States be a better soccer-playing nation if guys like Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson, and Mike Krzyzewski had grown up soccer players and became soccer coaches?

We were talking about this last year at the World Cup, and I said then the biggest difference between other countries and the United States is the structured training received almost from birth.

There was a great New York Times magazine story about AJAX, a Dutch club which has squads as young as 6-7.
So while some may or may not like Bob Bradley, the real difference is made between the Dutch(or German or whatever nationality you prefer) professional coaches, and Joe the plumber coaching because the neighborhood needs a soccer coach.

This gap really seems to be closing as at the very least elite United States players seem to be noticed earlier and earlier. It's also in this way that the United States being so spread out works against it. Clint Dempsey was basically playing against himself in Nacagdoches Texas until he was in his early teens.
If he lived in England, it would be much easier for him to get noticed, and his parents could have him play with a "semi-pro" team without having to completely uproot their life.

Yachtzee
03-31-2011, 12:11 AM
So maybe the question isn't: Would the United States be a better soccer-playing nation if guys like Allen Iverson, LeBron James and Chad Ochocinco played soccer?

Maybe the question is: Would the United States be a better soccer-playing nation if guys like Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson, and Mike Krzyzewski had grown up soccer players and became soccer coaches?

Maybe if Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson, and Mike Krzyzewski spent years playing in Europe or South America. They are who they are in their respective sports because they've developed as players and coaches at the highest level. If they grew up playing soccer here, they would probably still be good coaches, but they wouldn't be at the same level they are today unless they were able to get some gigs in England, Spain, Italy or Germany.