Wednesday, April 25, 2007

U-S-A! U-S-A!

We all know soccer is not the biggest sport in this country. Very few kids have dreamed of growing up to become professional soccer players. But what if they did? I know this country has enough natural athletes who would have excelled in the sport if they pursued it*. Below is a possible starting XI (that's how it's written) for Team USA, including current position and team. Please note: this lineup is built using a customary 4-4-2 formation.
*I tried to include hockey players; I really did. All I kept coming up with was either Chris Chelios or Mike Modano and they're just too old. America has given up on hockey. Oh well, more for soccer, right?

Goalie: Joe Mauer (C, Minnesota Twins)
I always thought the skills that make someone a good catcher would translate to a good goalie. Mauer gets the nod only because the 2006 World Cup would have marked the end of Jason Kendall's career. As long as I'm being entirely speculative, might as well take it all the way, no?

Left back: Bruce Bowen (SF, San Antonio Spurs)
He's getting up there in years, but he's the only one who could contest Peter Crouch on headers, and besides, he would be brutal on prima donnas like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Christiano Ronaldo. Step over deez nuts, bitch.

Center backs: Torii Hunter (CF, Minnesota Twins) and Ed Reed (S, Baltimore Ravens)
Hunter would also be great defending set pieces with his hops, and Reed's ability to survey the entire field and anticipate plays would lead to many intercepted crosses.

Right back: Champ Bailey (CB, Denver Broncos)
Bailey's natural cover abilities would translate easily to soccer. There's no way he'd leave some streaking midfielder unmarked down the side.

Left midfielder: Michael Vick (QB, Atlanta Falcons)
You can't tell me he wouldn't have some sick moves to go with his blazing speed. Plus, he has an international moniker and he could spread good cheer and, well, you know, to other countries.

Center midfielders: Gilbert Arenas (PG, Washington Wizards) and Chris Paul (PG, New Orleans Hornets)
Arenas is the guy who can do it all - create plays for himself or set up his teammates. Besides, he's a great quote all the time and to see him interact with players from around the world (and blog about other countries) is too much to pass up. Chris Paul, while a young guy on the team (Jason Kidd just misses the cut), would still make for a helluva playmaker and lead the team in assists.

Right midfielder: Reggie Bush (RB, New Orleans Saints)
His otherworldly agility makes his selection a no-brainer. He would pack the house in whatever sport he played, so whatever. He's the best.

Strikers: Allen Iverson (PG, Denver Nuggets) and Dwyane Wade (SG, Miami Heat)
Would AI's killer crossover translate to his feet? I see no reason why not. Wade has a nose for the hoop, so changing that to the back of the net isn't much of a stretch. I figure by this point you have the idea, anyway.

Bring on the Brazilians!