A few weeks ago the TSG community nearly ran away with this column we were already writing. Shame on you. Kidding.
We thought we re-ignite the conversation on what other American athletes might make good soccer players, but with a twist.
Sure, we always hear that LeBron James or Kobe Bryant would be phenomenal soccer players if they had choosen to play the game. The question, though? Where would they play?
So with this in mind TSG give you our thoughts on the top non-soccer “potential” soccer starters:
GOAL: Marcus Camby
We’re going with the Cambyman or Gumby here or whatever you want to call him. Actually, Gumby is prophetic for Camby and he’s a perfect selection.
First, goalies tend to get better as they age and at 35 years of age, Camby seems to be in the sweet spot.
The 2006-07 defender of the year was one of the few defenders of who wasn’t an on the ball winger player or a center with a ton of heft down low.
Camby does all his work, his defense, rebounding, blocking with his positioning since he lacks the power against some other players. Sounds perfect to us.
Oh, and he never cares or cared much about offense and has those sinewy long arms to outlet the ball since you know he won’t be able to drop kick it all that well.
Back-up: Danilo Gallinari, New York Knicks; Ryan Miller, USA Hockey (Our token hockey player)
LB: Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
When you go up against Darrelle Revis…you’re on an island man. Bam, last cliche used in this piece.
That being said, the 5’11” 190lbs (wow…that’s more than Nemanja Vidic) cornerback for the J-E-T-S moves like lightening and is a wet blanket for offenders.
At that 190lbs, Rieves is not going to be bull-rushed and with his speed he’ll also suffocate the Robinho’s of the world.
CB: Ed Reed, Baltimore Ravens
The ball hawker extraordinaire is always reading the quarterbacks eyes and getting to the spot long before wide receiver in passing situations– a perfect skill that lends itself to positioning the back-line, but also reading the play to track down errant Jermain Defoes running wild.
And we all know the 10-year vet can tackle already.
Let’s call Reed Jay DeMerit 2.0 with a little more viciousness.
Back-up: Ron Artest, SF, Lakers
CB: Gerald Wallace, SF, Charlotte Bobcats
Playing the Gooch to Ed Reed’s Ja DeMerit is Gerald Wallace of the Charlotte Bobcats. Another lunchpail sort of player, the 6’7”, 220lbs Wallace is a multi-skilled forward for Larry Brown’s squad down South.
More? Wallace is the only rebounder in the top 10 who’s a small forward.
Wallace is a good defender to boot, and dynamic enough to have once placed second in the slam dunk contest. So coordination? Check.
Ain’t nobody getting through the middle on these two.
CB Back-up: Nene, PF, Denver Nuggets (a 6’10” Brazilian who grew up playing soccer…seems logical).
RB: Rajon Rondo, PG, Boston Celtics
Similar to Wallace, we’ve selected the leading rebounding non-power forward, non-center. Bonus with Rondo as he possesses speed and distribution.
CB Back-up: Hines Ward — a WR who can lay a hit.
CDM: Troy Polamalu, FS, Pittsburgh Steelers
In the destroyer role, we go with none other than Troy Paloumolo. Two things won this role for Polamalu: 1) His unbelievable range on the field–he’s never out of the play and 2) His propensity for a shattering tackle.
Teams will not only not get the better of Troy; they’ll fear going in his area on offense. That’s not good if you’re trying to score.
CM: Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns
Cut and dry, the team’s Deco, but with a little bit more striking firepower. Whereas many point guards get their assists by driving to and through the lane looking to score, Nash is always looking for assists first and then only scores when he has to.
That’s the kind of distributor we want in the middle of the field.
Note, at 36 Nash is likely going to need to be relieved around the 75th minute, but if we’ve chosen this team wisely, then they should be up by quite a bit by them, likely due to the two-time NBA MVP.
Oh and we said “American” athletes….we’re trotting Stevie don’t to the federal building to get his American Sr. citizenship.
Back-up: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (same ilk, token baseball player); Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
LM: LeBron James, FW, Cleveland Cavaliers
Perhaps the best athlete amongst all of these players, the 6’8” train of a man just rumbles through all those bigger and smaller.
Question: Why did we put him on the wing?
We want to take advantage of his abilities in transition and drawing players (much like a Drogba or Altidore) to him. We could have put him in the target striker role, but then we couldn’t use his defensive abilities in his own half…and we’re going to use them.
RM: Chad Ocho Cinco, WR, Cincinatti Bengals
So our left side bookends hail bookend towns Ohio.
Ocho Cinco is a self-professed soccer master.
His comments last year to ESPN when talking about his professed love of the game:
ESPNsoccernet: What position did you play? And which current player were you stylistically reminiscent of?
Ocho Cinco: Forward. And [Didier] Drogba.
We’ll take a 6’1”, 192lbs target opposite LeBron….wow.
Can he drill it hard and below the limbo bar too? We think so…
STR: Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers
The team’s Luis Fabiano. Bryant’s got all the tools to take it into the box.
But why Fabiano? Well the self-proclaimed 4-time NBA Champion has the striker’s mentality. You can teach it, you possess it through genetics and
STR: Monta Ellis
Well, we were going to go with Jeff Gordon here, but….
A few years ago, debating anyone but Allen Iverson for this role would have likely been blashemy.
With Iverson advanced in the years, we’re going with perhaps the closest player to him, a point guard with a shooting guard mentality.
The critical factor? These guys are faster moving (and eventually scoring) with the ball in their possession than the defenders attempting to cover them.
Yup, that’s Monta Ellis.
Where did we err? Who did we miss?
Honoroable mention? Frenchman Tony Parker, PG, San Antiono Spurs…guy’s got a rep as more than solid floorball player.