This morning as I checked the MLS news sites in my office, as I live/work in Seoul, Korea so I'm sleeping when some of the MLS news is being reported on, I found out that Chad Johnson or Chad Ochocinco is on trial with Sporting KC. I can't even express my anger and frustration at the team I support (mostly by default as I'm orignally from Missouri).
This is simply a PR move by a team that is trying to get their (new) name out to the public. Despite playing as a youth this is a person who hasn't played soccer at any level since he was a kid; and he's 33 now. The age most professional soccer players end their careers. This is simply an American football player who has used his "love" of soccer to promote himself and his massive ego. He has had to use his outlandish acts to make a name for himself throughout his career as his abilities, though plentiful, wouldn't have made him stand out in the NFL. Johnson's NFL contract is more than the entire SKC roster make and that includes SKC DP Omar Bravo. Is he really going to take league minimum or below DP salary if SKC is stupid enough to sign him, which I can definitely see as a PR move. I can definitely see him playing at least a summer friendly and I can see him causing a division in the locker room. Even if he doesn't have the soccer ability he says he has, there's no doubting he has atheletic ability. However, numerous college draft picks every season come into the league with atheletic ability and don't last most than a season or two; if that.
SKC has already achieved their goal, because myself and other bloggers are writing about them. Kudos for them on that, but if they are to continue with this it demeans them as a club even more. I've said for a long time that the OnGoal company that runs this team is clueless in the game and I think this makes them look on par. Too many SKC pundits give them a lot of credit as an ownership group. Which I think stems from OnGoal keeping the Wizards in Kansas City and not relocating the team. In my opinion this trial also makes the league look like a Mickey Mouse operation. Who's next Kobe Bryant? Lebron? Mike Tyson?
Fine, he may have or had some soccer abilities, but he isn't a soccer player at this level. Lets not make the same showboat mistake the NASL made, and lets improve on the quality of play on the pitch. Not the names on the pitch. That is the only way this league will be respected in the eye of the world and people continually come out to watch good teams. Even Beckham and Henry don't have the same pull they once had. And are people going to come out to see SKC just because of a egomanic NFL player? I highly doubt many people will come out solely because of it.
Finally, is Johnson aware that he wears the number 85? I say this becaus he changed his name to Ochocinco which means 8, 5. The number 85 is actually ochenta y cinco, but hey most Bud Light swigging NFL fans wouldn't know that.
I can't imagine Johnson being able to play to this level and I honestly think he'll be found out early on. Dribbling a soccer ball by yourself and doing keepy-ups is fine when you're on your own; but when you have a professional who has played most of their youth and adult life marking you it is much different. I would love this charade to be over, but I know better than that. I can see SKC signing Johnson, and I wouldn't be surprised if the league urged them to do so for the publicity.