Ochocinco the Soccer Player

Thursday, September 16, 2010 | View Comments
Chad and Ronaldinho - borrowed from The Offside
Chad Ochocinco is a soccer fan.  He pals around with famous footballers, he owns a strong collections of soccer shirts, and he has stated repeatedly that the game was his first sporting love.  During a recent appearance on FSC's Soccer Talk Live, Chad did what Chad does, when he stated something nearly impossible to take at face value and yet seemingly plausible: that perhaps he would drop American football for the other kind of football, and might do so as early as next year.

I doubt seriously if Chad is capable of doing such a thing.  Chris of twofootedtackle fame tackled a bit of it, and I'm inclined to think the chances that Ochocinco would be good enough to play professional soccer on a level like MLS are so slim as to be a non-existent.   My concern here is whether, should Chad's intentions be legitimate, an MLS team would be smart to sign him up.

Let's boil this down a little further - is MLS past the point of signing up a novelty act with a modicum of soccer ability who could bring the league gobs of publicity and mainstream attention?  Would they jeopardize their credibility as a league no matter how good Ochocinco turns out to be?  Where's the balance between massive marketing coup and Bill Veeck-style stunt?

If Chad Ochocinco is a good enough soccer player that he wouldn't completely embarrass himself on the field with MLS players (I find this hard to conceive of, but you never know), then it really just comes down to the issue of integrity.  Any MLS team that brings in Chad, outside of an international friendly or training session, might as well put a clown nose on their logo.  Unfortunately, the practical realities of clawing out a piece of the sports and entertainment market might tempt someone to actually give it a try.

I doubt that Chad is serious.  I doubt that he could ever be good enough to play as a professional.  I don't think the issue will come up, thankfully, so it hardly matters what the "right" answer is.  I would be against anyone signing Ochocinco, no matter his abilities.  It would make it that much more difficult to take MLS seriously.  The negatives outweigh the positives in my mind.

But not everyone agrees with me.  There's already a Facebook campaign to get Ochocinco to join the Columbus Crew.

Open forum...assume the following:

1. He's serious about playing pro soccer
2. He's good enough to do so

And tell me if MLS should sign up Chad Ochocinco.
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