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Chad Ochocinco Johnson Trials with Sporting Kansas City

Is this a joke? Can we really take him seriously? Well at the moment it seems to be that Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals, who is currently being locked out by the owners and Commissioner of the National Football League, is actually going to try out for Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer. The biggest mouth of the NFL who made his end-zone celebrations famous is taking this trial very seriously and wants to join the club.

Let’s remember that he is a fan of the game and did visit Real Madrid during the off-season after his Bengals were eliminated from reaching the playoffs this past NFL season. Other professional players in other pro sports leagues also enjoy the game like the Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett, Seattle Mariners Shortstop Jack Wilson, LA Angels’s Bobby Abreu and many hockey players in the NHL coming from Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany, Norway and so on.

But when it comes to Major League Soccer, do they need a publicity stunt like Chad Johnson to participate in their league? The original publicity stunt was television actor Andrew Shue of Melrose Place who actually played college soccer and signed a one year contract for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the league’s inaugural season back in 1996. He played sparingly off the bench and looked decent, but Chad Johnson is a pure athlete and does have the capability to actually perform on a soccer field.

But once again is this something that:

A. The NFL players trade union (remember that the NFL Players Association Union has decertified and can’t be called a collective union anymore) is happy to see one of their top players trying out for a different pro sports league,

B. Are his teammates thrilled to see this going on,

C. What will his fans think when he decides to give up football & actually play some futbol? Will he take this seriously and show true commitment to Sporting Kansas City? Or will he leave in the middle of the season once the NFL and the Players agree to a brand new labor agreement.

I honestly believe that Chad Johnson is finding a way to stay active and if this labor problem persists into the regular season after Labor Day weekend, then he will be the one looking like the better person for finding a way to stay active and fit instead of pouting and whining about his real sport. But if Sporting Kansas City does make the decision of signing him to a contract, they have to understand that there will be an out clause which is of course returning to the NFL when the labor problems are done.

In some ways to me this stunt is partly a joke, but at the same time there is some interest to see NFL fans that are not soccer fans becoming one and following MLS. It would be nice to see Chad Johnson wearing a USA National Team Jersey and invited to watch a friendly or a World Cup Qualifier at a designated stadium. Good luck Chad Johnson but please no crying if you don’t make the cut.

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  1. CrazyMike

    March 27, 2011 at 4:54 am

    I don’t think they’ll give him a first team contract, but it is possible that SKC will give him a reserve or practice squad member contract (even if its for no money) if the situation with the NFL isn’t resolved soon. Its win-win – Chad stays fit and gets to say he’s accomplished one of his life goals while SKC gets a bit of extra press and a chance to convert a few curious gridiron fans.

    Who knows, maybe they’ll give him a 10 minute run out at the end of a friendly sometime this summer if the opportunity presents itself.

  2. Dave C

    March 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I tried to post something earlier, but it didn’t “stick”. I guess maybe because I tried to post a link to an interview with Ochocinco on another website.

    Anyway, in that interview he seemed either naive or arrogant, because he was describing his playing style as “a bit like Ronaldinho”, and was suggesting he would try out for teams in Europe. But from what I’ve seen of his interviews from KC, I think he might have been humbled a bit by this trial. I saw a brief clip on ESPN showing him playing, and he was WAY out of his depth – I wouldn’t even put him in my rec 7 a side team.

    Chad Johnson is a pure athlete and does have the capability to actually perform on a soccer field.

    Isn’t it WAY to early to say this? We can’t say he has any capability until we (or at least the KC coaching staff) have a decent chance to watch him. I think this kind of view is typical of many people who don’t watch soccer – they assume any reasonably physically “athletic” person could just step right in and play. People who know the game usually know better.

    • Dave C

      March 27, 2011 at 12:30 am

      Aaargh double post, I KNEW that would happen!

  3. MR

    March 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    He WILL prevail in the MLS trust me!! All you need to do is watch this…

  4. dan

    March 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Isnt this Kind of REALLY old news right now to be talking about?

    I mean AT LEAST have an update about how he will play in a reserve game, come on!

    I for one do not believe this is a publicity stunt and i think Ochocinco really does want to play. Is he good enough? Well none of us here really know. But you can’t deny it would be really cool to see him play if he turns out to be good enough.

    • Dave C

      March 26, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      I’ve tried to post on this article twice, but for some reason it won’t “stick”.

      I think Ochocinco was probably pretty arrogant going into this experiment – there’s an article out there on the net somewhere where he describes his playing style as “like Ronaldinho,” and he said he planned to try-out in Europe – both claims seemed extremely deluded. But it sounds like his experience at KC might have humbled him – I saw some clips on ESPN where he looked WAY out of his league. I wouldn’t even have him on my 7 a side rec team. But now his interviews now sound more level headed, like he appreciates that being an “athlete” alone doesn’t count for much.

      Chad Johnson is a pure athlete and does have the capability to actually perform on a soccer field.

      Isn’t this too early to say?

      • Sancho

        March 27, 2011 at 1:25 am

        I don’t know, but with his size, speed, strength and stamina, I can see him playing as a Brazilian-style fullback in 4-2-2-2 or 4-3-1-2 formations. Internazionale’s Maicon comes to mind.

        • Sancho

          March 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm

          I just saw the videos of Ochocinco’s practices. It can work, but it would take a while (actually, a whiiiiiiiile). There is no way he could play on top flight right now. The motions are not “natural” yet. He needs a lot of training on basic level.

  5. Jack2010

    March 26, 2011 at 3:54 am

    I want to wish him good luck. He is very humble about the respect that he has for the sport of soccer. He is creating publicity for Sporting KC which is not bad.

  6. alaboston

    March 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    For whatever it’s worth, this stunt, which I am on record as being against, has given MLS more coverage than when Landon Donovan returned from South Africa. It seems like more coverage than when Thierry Henry joined New York. It’s just a little bit less than David Beckham to LA. If he doesn’t make the team, and I don’t think he will because I do think its a publicity stunt, I would be curious to see if Sporting KC would still have him stick around as an ambassador to the game. I don’t know, maybe come to a couple of games. MLS is starting to see some celebrity supporters (Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant, Steven Nash –but I guess technically he’s an owner). Would be interesting to see Chad at a SKC home match, in the stands, of SKC’s brand new stadium, if he doesn’t make the team. Or even doing television spots for the team.

  7. Bolacuadrada

    March 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Great. Whether he makes the team or not, this is good for the the Sporting brand. Now a lot of sports fans know about Sporting Kansas City. Ochocinco has alway made sports interesting. I enjoyed that day when he wore that NFL hall of fame jacket or he offered a dollar bill to the ref. The problem is that if he offers a dollar bill to Blatter, Warner or Grondona, they will for sure take it. Good luck 85!

    • Dave C

      March 26, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Ha, Blatter et al would reject the dollar bill and ask for more!

  8. Robert

    March 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    If I was KC’s coach I would def sign him. This guy is a natural athlete and anyone who can play at his caliber will have zero problem playing for MLS. 85 has done more for the league by just trying out than what David “Still Dreaming about the EPL” Becks has done over the past several years.

  9. Charles

    March 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    He was very humble about it, saying the only thing he brings to the table right now is his speed.

    They streamed his first day or practice. He didn’t look even close to playing in a MLS game, but he also looked like had a base enough for someone of that athletic ability ( aka, MANY,MANY others might have the same soccer playing base, but only 1/1,000,000th the potential he has )

    Good for him, but if he makes the reserve team, does he do it ?

  10. sidney johnson

    March 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Good luck

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