Yeah, the beginning of the article shocked me… I thought the whole thing was going to be about how the athletes from the other sports actually would make up a great soccer team…I think the main thing (as pointed out in the article) is that there just isn’t as many ways for young soccer players in America to develop on hone their skills, and that’s not the sport most kids grow up wanting to play for the simple fact that it doesn’t get as much exposure in the United States… I grew up wanting to play basketball. However, based on my body type and where my strengths/weaknesses lie athletically I would have likely made a much, much better soccer player than basketball player. Because of this the thought from the article that does still intrigue me is how good these other athletes would be had they grown up playing and working at soccer rather than their given sport. I don’t mean King James and T.O… but guys like Chris Paul or DeSean Jackson. There’s obviously no way of knowing but it is something that’s entertaining to ponder.
Before LeBron saves US soccer is there a chance that he can first save the Cavaliers any further embarrassment by teaching them how to win in the postseason . Then perhaps save the career of Lindsay Lohan and then find time to teach Justin Bieber what it’s like to be self absorbed in his own little universe.
Having just spent a month totally immersed in the world cup, I am happy to report that I didn’t even know that LeBron James was thinking of signing anywhere until it was all over. Have I missed anything? I doubt it.
He might make a goalkeeper or a centre back, but he’s not exactly prime football shape or size. If he can take the close contact/tackling without pads he’d make an excellent lock forward in Rugby Union, mind.
The only thing that LeBron is liable to do when it comes to soccer is perhaps play it with his kids.
As to the World Cup itself the final game as well as that of the the third place game were both immense bores. Hardly the ringing endorsement that FIFA President Sepp Blatter might well have been looking for !
I believe this argument is dismissive in both ways. “LeBron wouldn’t help the U.S. soccer team.” Sure, he wouldn’t not the actual LeBron James who stands 6-foot-9 and plays in the NBA. What people really, really mean is the figurehead of LeBron, at least that’s what I mean. The brand. The hype. The following. The TV audience he commands.
It’s plain and simple. In the United States, the majority of our best athletes do not play soccer. It’s ridiculous to say that the builds of certain athletes would prevent them from being good. Having watched a lot of the World Cup (but not a lot of soccer otherwise) it’s easy to see the transfer of basic athletic skills from sport to sport. Balance, coordination, jumping, speed and endurance.
Running about seven miles a soccer game sounds like an accurate figure. But let me ask this, how many miles does a wide receiver run in a football game? Don’t forget to factor in if he runs a 30-yard route and the pass is incomplete he is running 30 yards back to the huddle, then about 15 yards back out to his spot then another 15-yard route, then 15 yards back to the huddle….
You get it. It might not be seven miles, but it’s a lot. And while there can be a significant break for offensive players when the defense is on the field, don’t forget that endurance is one of the easiest athletic skills to build up. It’s one that builds through repetition rapidly. It’s why 65-year-olds can run marathons.
My point is LeBron would help the U.S. soccer team dramatically. In the sense that LeBron is Christian Ronaldo. Or Lionel Messi. Or Ronaldinho. Or David Beckham.
A superstar that causes the youth of America to get into soccer at a young age is what American soccer needs. The more athletic team doesn’t always win in every sport, but they have a better chance to. Soccer isn’t a one-skill game like golf. Watch a midfielder try to weave through an opposing defense. It looks an awful lot like a running back to me. They get bumped or tripped and fall down. If you’re more athletic, you don’t fall down because you have more muscle strength and better balance.
And you’re really saying just one guy with the height and leaping ability of Kobe Bryant (a modest 6-foot-6, and no longer a great NBA leaper) wouldn’t help somehow late in a soccer match? I see no way that he couldn’t help.
I get what you’re saying, and yes LeBron would help from the publicity stand point. If you ask a kid at a young age whether he wants to be the next LeBron or the next Landon Donovan, you’ll get a pretty lopsided response. That was Freddy Adu’s job. Great work, kid. However, I think that is a whole different issue. Saying “If LeBron played soccer, we’d be good” is different than saying “Soccer needs a LeBron-type player to get more athletes to play it.” I would agree with your assessment, but not with the other one.
As for your last part, a 6-6 Kobe would be a great help on corner kicks provided he could head the ball straight. But like you said, it’s more than a one skill game. I don’t think his size 14 shoe or whatever would allow for a whole lot of skill. The tallest player I can think of is England’s 6-7 Peter Crouch who wears a size 12 and isn’t known for his ball skills. But yes, he’s a menace in the air. The Czech Republic’s Jan Koller was a similar player.
My question then would become, why not take a striker like Brian McBride who is a very dangerous aerial player but also skilled with the ball at his feet? McBride is only 6-0. Same goes for Carlos Bocanegra who always seems to find the end of crosses.
Defensive backs or wide receivers would probably have a good shot at making a difference. I just can’t say with confidence that with the same coaching that our current players are exposed to that they would be any better. Can we say that Oguchi Onyewu would have been an NFL tight end if he decided to play football instead of soccer?
The odd thing about Peter Crouch at 6’7″ is that he is NOT particularly good in the air. He’s not got the lift in his jump and he’s not got the body size/power to get the best positions in the box without fouling defenders.
Brian McBride at his peak was a far more dominanting striker. If he had played in the Premier League a few seasons earlier that would have been rather more obvious. I’m not usually high on US players (other than a rather good crop of goalkeepers that you have at the moment), but he was one of the best you’ve had over the last 12 years.
Landon Donovan can hold his own as an international player as can one of the centre backs (not the guy that plays for Watford). The rest, I’m afraid, I don’t see getting into the Ghana side. However, things will pick up if the USFL improves, and signs are that this may be happening at last.
When team USA discover a midfield player that can put his foot on the ball and play it ball with true vision aka Hagi (Romania) Gascoigne (England) Matthaus (Germany) Deco (Portugal) from the past, and a handful of Spaniards from the present – notably Fabregas who regrettably spent most of the world cup sitting watching, then USA might start to cecome a force outside the Concacaf area. The only thing is, every team is looking out for these.
Sorry, there seems to be an extra ball in that message and an a la became an aka.
You’re right, Crouch isn’t exactly a wonder doing anything, but if I had to place a value on him, it would be in the air. He’s just a goofy player in general. Koller is the better example, but I wasn’t able to find a shoe size which was illustrating my point. Haha.
I was always a huge McBride fan. He is the best striker we’ve ever had…maybe Eric Wynalda or some of the guys from the way early years, but I feel confident in saying McBride is the best.
I do think you’re spot on with your assessment of Donovan. Hagi, Gascoigne, etc. he is not. For some reason that’s all some people want him to be so they see him as a failure. His game is different. He doesn’t have the help that any of the players you named had…Hagi had Florin Răducioiu, Gascoigne had Shearer and a host of others, same with Matthaus, Deco had/has Cristiano Ronaldo and both Figo and Rui Costa in their later years…you get the idea. Donovan has had Brian McBride who, as much as I love him, doesn’t compare to the other guys on this list. Donovan has to carry the team himself. I just don’t understand all the criticism for him.
I also feel that you haven’t given Clint Dempsey enough credit…he’s a better player for Fulham than he is for the US team, but he’s certainly worth mentioning.