United States Soccer-Lebron in Goal

MB MBSenior Analyst IJune 20, 2008


Of course, it would make a difference if the top athletes in the United States played soccer.

Just like if the top athletes were committed and forced to play any sport, it would become better. The main issue fans of soccer in the United States have is getting these top athletes to play. It won’t happen until one star young athlete comes around and dominates the scene. Just like the Fab 5 revolutionized the way kids in the United States wear their socks and shorts, a stud (s) can make playing soccer cool. That is the problem; kids don’t think it’s a cool sport and who decides that is the television networks.  So many kids grow up playing soccer and then usually around junior high or the beginning of high school they quit because of football, basketball, baseball, and even now the whole X Games crew.

If the United States put all it’s time, money, resources into development of soccer players it would be able to be one of the top teams in the world.  Other countries have years of experience high competitive play but the United States is far bigger and produces superior athletes.  Soccer is not that hard of a game to play or understand. Sure, soccer purists will argue it’s a game of high physical skill, great teamwork and play development.

But let’s just compare American football to soccer and try not to laugh. Soccer teams coaches aren’t breaking down game film for 14 hours a day and have to worry about whether their high paid quarterback gets injured by a 6’6 280 pound defensive end who runs a 4.5 40. Soccer gets as physical as heads colliding going for a ball and the ever dangerous slid tackle. Most would gladly take that physical harm to their bodies rather than banging with Dwight Howard in the post, wearing a Tim Lincecum two seamer in the ribs, or  getting jacked up by Brian Urlacher running a slant over the middle.

Without a doubt, the sport that takes the best pound-for-pound athletes from a physical perspective is boxing. A boxer needs speed, agility, strength, toughness, conditioning, and be able to execute a game plan while avoiding punches.  Golf at the highest level is the most mental sport. It’s just you a club and a small white ball. Over the course of four days you must play 72 holes, 18 each day. Each day the same 18 holes you played before are the same on paper but play and act a lot differently. There is new hole placement, a new tee off time, which, in turn, factors in different wind directions and speed. Sure, you don’t have to be the best athlete in the world to play game but if you are not mentally tough you will never win anything big. 

Athletes in other sports could, for sure, cross-over and play different ones. Think about Ray Lewis growing to become a heavyweight boxer. He is physical strong, quick, and tough. Fifty years ago he would have been trained to do it. Just like soccer isn’t a big hit in the United States, boxing is the same because our top athletes aren’t in the sport.

How about Kobe Bryant playing center field?  Sure hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports but if Kobe played from the time he was young he would be able to hit and you couldn’t tell me he wouldn’t run every ball down and rob any would-be homer.  Lastly, Tiger Woods playing quarterback. Tiger is very smart, physically fit, ultra competitive, and a degenerate for working hard: All makings of a great signal caller.

The reason why few kids in the United States want to play soccer long term comes down to money, too.  They see Lebron all over television ads and want to be him. Like everything else, money controls the world and if it is not the money sport to play, kids won’t do it.  A father isn’t going to be considered cool or popular by telling his co-workers on Monday he took his son to a soccer game.  Not many grow up wanting to be Landon Donovan. For the ones that, do it’s only because they love the sport they play and watch it on the ESPN 2 at random times.  The sport needs to be part of the main culture. Rappers will need to rap about playing it, celebrities will need to attend games, and most of all kids (i.e. the attractive girls) in high school and college need to attend the games. If soccer games became what Friday night lights is to football, with small towns around the country, it would be a hit. It just won’t happen with Americans who are to smart, ego-driven and action craved.  This country just won’t take up soccer.

United States Soccer Dream-Team

  • Forward-Allen Iverson. He has speed for days and is tough so pushing him will be no problem.
  • Forward-Carl Crawford. The Nebraska option quarterback recruit and current Rays outfielder would get nasty. Does he kick with the left?
  • Mid-Lance Armstrong - Heart and un-human endurance
  • Mid-Brian Urlacher-Try slid tackling him.  Controls the middle
  • Mid-Ladainian Tomlinson-Can go through an whole NFL season. I think he can handle 90 minutes
  • Mid- Jeremy Wariner-United States best 400 runner and gold medal favorite in 2008 Olympics. Has the combo of endurance and world class sprinter speed
  • Defender-Ed Reed-No real soccer player will go near him
  • Defender-Julius Peppers-A 6’7, 280 pounds, and with 4.5 speed a real lock down defender
  • Defender-Joe Mauer-A natural defender, was also an All-American quarterback and signed with Florida St, so leadership for back line won’t be an issue
  • Defender-Kevin Garnett-Will get every header and has so much energy, he will stop any threat of scoring
  • Goalie-Lebron James-At 6’8 with quickness and leaping ability. Nobody is scoring