Monday, March 21, 2011

Chad Johnson In MLS?

Can soccer accept Chad Ochocinco? It is like he is re-inventing himself at 33 years old. In January he announced that he will be changing his name back to Johnson, he said he will have a try-out with Real Madrid and Barcelona (those turned out to be only a publicity stunt) but now he has a real try-out with Sporting Kansas City (MLS). Due to the lock out NFL players are not under contract and can go hog wild if they choose to, or in this case try out for another sport. According the KC’s web site Chad Johnson will begin a four day try-out with Sporting Kansas City of the MLS on Tuesday (March 22nd) and based on his ability things will be determined after that. Interesting how they scheduled it after their opening game and it ends before their second game, why now…why not a week or two ago before the season started?

The Kansas City team is known for being aggressive with publicity, they recently changed their name from the Kansas City Wizards to Sporting KC and they gave away the naming rights to their stadium for free so this may be nothing more than a publicity stunt but going back to an interview with ESPN  from 2007 Chad Johnson has been playing soccer since he was a kid and still loves the sport. He has traveled the globe as a fan of European clubs and counts a number of players amongst his friends. In a 2009 interview with Sports Illustrated he claimed that if there was a lockout in 2011 he planned on trying out for AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A.

He is an athlete and is still in good condition, he probably would not do too badly for a MLS team even as a substitute as long as the talent is there. I don’t think he could keep up with players like Landon Donovan or Alvaro Saborio let alone Beckham or Thierry Henry but I think he would bring in fans based on his name alone. I personally do not agree with players making a team only because of who they are/where, it has not really worked in the past (Think Babe Ruth with the Boston Braves or Michael Jordan with the Chicago White Sox and Washington Wizards) but if he turns out to be a decent player I have no problem with a player earning their way in to a second sport.

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