Cincinnati Bengals star wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has been named an "honorary member" of Major League Soccer club Sporting Kansas City, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.
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The six-time NFL Pro Bowler will not receive a contract from Sporting, but he will be allowed to continue training with the club’s reserve team.
"It’s awesome," Ochocinco said before Tuesday morning’s training session. "Basically I can stay here and train as I please, which is really cool. Words can’t describe how thankful I am to be able to be here."
Ochocinco, 33, participated in a four-day tryout with the MLS club last week that culminated in his participation in a reserve team match on Monday. The NFL wideout played in two of three 30-minute periods during a 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Brass.
"He’s been a pleasure to have here," Sporting manager Peter Vermes said. "He’s progressed in the days he’s trained with us.
"We told him we would not be offering him a contract with the team, but we feel his stay here has been so good in so many ways, we would offer him an opportunity to train with our reserves when they train in the afternoon on certain days of the week and continue to work on his fitness while he’s waiting for the lockout to finish, just because we think he’s become an honorary member of Sporting Kansas City."
The media savvy receiver, who grew up playing soccer in Miami, said he wanted to use the ongoing NFL lockout as an opportunity to fulfill a "childhood dream" of playing professional soccer.