The All Non-Soccer Soccer Team

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:

Twice the wingspan of Buffon?

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)



Revis: Bigger than Vidic, faster than Walcott....

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.

Good night.

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

Good luck winner a header with Wallace out there....

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.

The Canadian Deco?

That’s the kind of distributor we want in the middle of the field.

Don’t think he’s got the moves? Check it out here, here and here.

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…

Bryant on the team was a lay-up.

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.

29 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Adam on 2010/03/10 at 12:32 AM

    Id probably bring Chris Johnson as a late super-sup striker to chase down balls late in a game and attack tired Defenders!


  2. Posted by todd on 2010/03/10 at 1:07 AM

    i think striker should be someone like BJ Upton or another baseball dude who manages 30/30 or hell an early-00s Soriano.


  3. Posted by B-Mac on 2010/03/10 at 1:16 AM

    Great list guys, my suggestions:

    CB: Patrick Willis instead of Gerald Wallace- I want my defense to resemble Italy’s 2006 squad, full of crunching tacklers. So how about we take the best linebacker in the NFL, who hits harder than anyone?

    I’m gonna switch to a Barca-esque 4-3-3, so I’m going to put Bron Bron in the Zlatan role in the middle, Kobe as Henry on the Left, and replacing Monta Ellis and taking on the Messi role… DeSean Jackson. Give me the most explosive player in the NFL slashing in from the right.

    In the 4-3-3, Ocho gets benched, so I’m going to put Chris Paul in his role. The speed and the distribution skills are there, imagine him and Nash free running all over the midfield dishing balls up to the forwards…


  4. Gallanari is Italian


  5. If TSG was deploying the 4-4-2 with a diamond defense you could always go all U-10 style and put the fat kid at back, Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman, Prince Fielder.

    Imagine every ball sent in just punted out with authority like his home run balls. Always loved how almost every youth team had a fat kid with a big leg at the back. It distracted everyone from the fact that the rest of the kids were “herd-balling” across the rest of the field.

    The English would be proud of the youth fattie “long-ball” strategy. A few good football brains, those fatsos.


  6. Nash a huge Soccer and Spurs Fan as our captain.

    also we need someone like Jacoby Ellsbury with blinding speed, and the ability to slide tackle:)


  7. Posted by Bob on 2010/03/10 at 6:05 AM

    At CB, I would pair Michael Vick with Tim Tebow. Both have size and tough guy attitudes that will challenge anyone. Vick has the speed that will catch whoever gets by Tebow. Now that I think about it, Tebow is the perfect example for this article. He does not have an NFL throwing motion and probably would have benefitted from choosing soccer over football when he was 10 or whatever age U.S. kids must chose one sport over the other.

    This is happening to my son right now. He is 7 and for next year he must decide between soccer (the sport that I have coached him in for the past 2 years), or flag football (the sport that all his friends are choosing and whose season coincides with the town’s soccer season). Guess which sport he has decided to play? All our kids play soccer and then most forget about it by the time their 12 or so. Sad really, but I always said that I will not push him into any sport so if he wants to give up soccer for football I will have to just deal. Besides, I have a 2 year old that has a mean first touch.😉


  8. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/10 at 7:26 AM

    At first I thought you were putting Cambers of front. I mean you did say GOAL. Speaking of goal(azo), Um Lenhart for El Presidente and U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Golazo.

    I’d take Big Cactus in his Orlando days as a CB, very agile, pretty wide range of motion(and he can dribble/run the break, thus send a nice ball for a counter.

    Did I mention that he blocks tons of shots? He would serve as a sweet sweeper. Just ask oppising teams during the 3-peat


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/10 at 8:54 AM

      That is phenomenal. I’m going to use that ina column. El presidente and us amnbassaddor to the democratic republic of golazo.

      By the way antonio. One person reached our site today by searching for “damn you antonio.”


      • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/10 at 10:01 AM

        Hahaha. It was probably Ryan R. He’s jealous of my man crush on Duka, which he knows about first hand.


      • Posted by Kevin on 2010/03/11 at 5:41 PM

        I’ve always wondered about funny ways people find websites like this. I remember finding you from facebook on a public computer, then forgetting the name of the website, then finally finding you again on facebook (but this time on a personal computer) and bookmarked you guys. Great reads.


  9. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/03/10 at 7:38 AM

    As a No.9 I would like to see Terrell Owens. As a No. 10, it has to be Steve Nash – get him to preserve his energy to the offensive third and keep him on for the full 90 minutes. Brilliant call for Ellsbury, BTW. If I could go back to yesteryear, as a centre back, I’d go for the All Blacks’ Jonah Lomu – he is a beast of an athlete, a freak of a human being. He makes Onyewu look like he had an eating disorder!


  10. Posted by pino on 2010/03/10 at 8:23 AM

    Ray Lewis as CDM instead of troy. His leadership abilities and work rate alone would more than compensate for his age.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/03/10 at 8:51 AM

      I thought about it but Troy is much less likely to get a red card.

      I would almost put lewis in center d and have him just scare the behesus out oF anyone that dare dribble near him.


  11. Posted by Joe on 2010/03/10 at 9:23 AM

    Usain Bolt as striker. Enough said.


    • Posted by Wilson on 2010/05/08 at 2:10 PM

      Usain Bolt is probably the best soccer player from another sport. I would put Bolt in the Cristano Ronaldo role and the wing.


    • Posted by Wilson on 2010/05/08 at 3:16 PM

      Stick too NFL players: I would like to see USMNT team play a friendly against these guys. GK-Calvin Johnson WR Detroit Lions 6’5″ 230 lbs. I seen this guy stop on a dime and catch a ball at his ankles.
      Right Back-Darrell Revis CB Jets 5’11” 190, Left Back-Charles Woodson CB Packers 6’1″ 202 (Theses fullbacks will shut down long passes and counter attack to score)
      Center Back-Ed Reed S Ravens 6’0 200, Center Back- Brain Urlacher LB Bears 6’4″ 260 (These guys roam the open field and win the ball or make a crucial tackle)
      Defensive Midfield- Troy Polamalu FS Steelers 5’10” 207 (defensive enforcer all right)
      Attacking Midfield-Anquan Boldin WR Ravens 6’1″ 217 (Set-up man and Playmaker)
      Right Wing-Chad Ochoa Cinco WR Bengals 6’1” 192, Left Wing-Andre Johnson WR Texans 6’2″ 225
      (wingers pace and rush forward to collect passes and press inside the box if possible)
      Forward-Adrian Peterson RB Vikings 6’2″ 217, Forward-Larry Fitzgerald WR Cardinals 6’3″ 228
      (these guys are strong and can get to the open field quickly and create scoring opportunities on their own)

      Subs-GK Vernon Davis TE 49ers 6’5 250, Defense-Nnamdi Asomugha CB Raiders 6’2″ 210, Midfield-Hines Ward WR Steelers 6’0″ 205, Forward/Winger-Chris Johnson RB Titans 5’11″200, Forward-Antonio Gates TE Chargers 6’4″ 260

      If they only knew how to kick this would be a Dream Team of Futbol. They are bigger, stronger, and faster then any above average athlete. I listed them to their position of mentality.


  12. Posted by stevedubyapdx on 2010/03/10 at 11:07 AM

    We could try a 4-4-2, with Zach Parise up front on the left and Randy Moss on the right.


    • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/10 at 11:40 AM

      Randy Moss is American football’s equivalent of Clint Dempsey


      • Posted by Swa on 2010/03/10 at 11:46 AM

        You’d never see Deuce drive down the street with a traffic cop on his hood, nor would he ever be caught dead saying something like “Checks are for poor people”.


        • Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/03/10 at 12:14 PM

          I’m only talking about on the field. Should’ve been more specific. But I know Duece is a great man.


  13. Posted by Swa on 2010/03/10 at 11:17 AM

    Camby has too much of an injury history to be throwing himself around as a keeper. I like Gerald in that role a lot more. The backline and defensive mid should all be NFL D-backs, with maybe an middle linebacker in the Gooch role, or just Gooch himself. Their combination of speed, strength and defensive positioning will be unmatched by any other athletes. Revis Island and Nnamdi Asomugha as the outside backs, Patrick Willis and Polamalu in the middle, and Lebron as the defensive mid who scores on a set piece every other game. Love Ed Reed but same problem as Camby.

    We’re also playing a Barca 4-3-3 so I want to see Kobe, Ocho and Patrick Kane across the top with Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley using their DP combo telepathy to put on their best Xavi and Iniesta impression in the middle of the pitch thanks to the limitless protection provided by the hulking figure of King James and his ungodly closing speed.


  14. Posted by pino on 2010/03/10 at 11:44 AM

    I could also see Mcnabb playing CAM in the mold of Juan Roman Riquelme. He has the athletecisim and vision to pull it off. I could also see him being amazing on set pieces. Funny i could not imagine many other NFL qbs playing the real football. most are too tall and not athletic enough. Vick being the one glaring exception.


  15. Posted by Pig Benis on 2010/03/11 at 4:48 PM

    Marcus Camby doesn’t cut it for me. He is too tall for the worm burners and probably too slow off the line. I’m thinking of guys like Wade, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook. Other than that not to bad. I think LeBron would be best for CB or ST. Mainly CB because I would be worried about a 6’8″ guys foot skills.

    I would go: Dwayne Wade; Jacoby Ellsbury, Troy Polamalu, LeBron James, Ted Ginn Jr.; Devin Hester, Rajon Rondo, Steve Nash, DeSean Jackson; Chad Ochocinco, Carl Crawford


  16. […] *And if you remember, Chad Johnson was in our All-Non-Soccer Soccer team. […]


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