Ochocinco earns reserve spot on MLS team
After a five-day tryout proved that he was a good teammate who lacked enough soccer skills, NFL star Chad Ochocinco got what he was hoping for Tuesday – a spot on the reserve team for Sporting Kansas City.
Now he’ll work out a couple of times a week with the MLS team’s reserve squad, which is what he was hoping for all along.
”This is so awesome I’m an honorary member of SportingKC and can train with the reserve team as long as I want,” Ochocinco said in a tweet. ”Totally awesome ILuvKC.”
As a member of the reserve team, the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals will not be given a contract or be paid. But soccer will be a great way to stay in shape until owners and players work out their differences and the NFL lockout is lifted.
Coach Peter Vermes said Ochocinco had proven himself a hard worker and a good teammate and was never a distraction.
”He really loves the game and he was into it. He wanted to try to make it,” said Vermes. ”I think it’s also good for him. He realizes this is a lot more difficult than it (appears to be). For our sport, it’s great because I think there’s a lot of people out there who question how hard it is to play this game and it’s very, very difficult.”
Ochocinco left for home after getting the good news and said he would return ”in a week or two.”
”He realized he’s not good enough to make the team and play in games,” said club spokesman Dave Borchardt. ”This way, he gets to be part of the soccer locker room, which is a dream come true.”
Ochocinco had appeared to be realistic about his chances of winning an MLS contract.
”I’ve been away from the game since I was a little kid. I’m just having fun,” he said after Monday’s practice game. ”The skill set is not there like it should be. All I can do out here on the pitch is probably just run fast.”
Ochocinco said his grandmother helped persuade him to give up soccer and focus entirely on football after the 10th grade. If he had stuck with soccer, Vermes said, he would have been a star in that sport.
”There’s no doubt in my mind he would be a professional player today,” Vermes said. ”No doubt in my mind. We’ve had guys in here with lesser physical tools than he has. He brings something to the field, his attention to detail and he’s very conscientious about the game. When you bring that every day onto the practice field you’re just going to get better.”