Bruce and Chad
When asked about NFL veteran Chad Ochocinco's chances of playing MLS, the Los Angeles Galaxy manager welcomed the idea with open arms.
"I would be surprised (if he could play), but you never know," Arena said, "I give our sport a little bit more credit. It’s not like if our sport goes on strike that Landon Donovan’s going to go to the NFL as a free safety.
"But I do love his passion for the game and I would love to see him on the field to see what he can do. Maybe I’m underestimating his ability and his desire to play."
Ochocinco's decision to transition to soccer from a different sport and a different league has not been unprecedented. Former NBA great Steve Nash trained with the New York Red Bulls.
"He wasn't trying to make the team," Arena pointed out. "Actually, Steve Nash probably could have been a professional soccer player, from what I've seen of Steve.
"He would have been a midfielder...Steve Nash probably plays 50 days a year. He's a little bit ahead of Ochocinco in that area."
Change of pace for Michael Stephens
Now in his second year with the Galaxy, midfielder Michael Stephens is ready to pace himself after learning some valuable lessons from his rookie campaign.
“It’s a pretty similar role to the way I started out last year, coming off the bench and trying to add a little to the games in the later part of the games,” Stephens said.
“My mentality is a little bit better. I’m a little more comfortable with the team, and I think I’m going to have a better year.
“Being smarter about the way I take care of myself. It’s a long year and you don’t want to push it every single day too hard, doing a lot of extra stuff every day, just being smart about picking your moments and taking good rest and being able to conserve your body for the whole season.”
Stephens was used primarily as a substitute, but he did see some action starting in the midfield.
“Everyone wants to be in the starting lineup, but coming in late in the games, I think I can do good helping this team and bringing some good energy to games when people are getting tired,” Stephens said.
“I want to contribute any way I can and whether it’s starting or coming into games late, whatever I can do to help my team.”
And with the change in attitude comes a change in pace for the UCLA product.