Friday, July 07, 2006


In my first post about the World Cup, I mentioned my favorite World Cup barstool argument, the “What would Team USA look like if our best athletes played soccer?” game. In honor of this weekend’s Cup finals (go…er…France, I suppose), I’ll close my soccer commentary for the next four years with my own answer to that question.

First, however, a couple of notes. This team is awfully NBA-player-heavy, but that’s because basketball skills tend to translate more to soccer, mostly the whole running-around-nonstop-for-a-long-time thing. That is contrasted with baseball, where the skills are incredibly different and most of those major league players whose sheer athleticism would have qualified them wouldn’t qualify to be on a team USA (I’m thinking here of guys like Vladimir Guerrero, Andruw Jones, etc.). Also, for our purposes, this team plays a 4-4-2 alignment.


Allen Iverson and LeBron James: As I’ve said before, Allen Iverson, if he had been a soccer player, would have completely redefined the striker position as we know it. Nobody could match his quickness and speed. As for LeBron, I was inspired to put him here by watching the gangly, uncoordinated, 6-7 Peter Crouch play forward for England. If that guy is what a 6-8 forward looks like, then the dominance a 6-8 guy like LeBron would enjoy would almost be unfair to the rest of the world.

Which would you choose? I thought so.


Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Carl Crawford, and LaDainian Tomlinson: Even I will admit that Crawford here is really forced, so I can have at least one baseball player on the team. A point guard like Chris Paul or Kirk Hinrich would probably be better, but Crawford is the choice, and would be a fine central midfielder with Tomlinson (yeah, like some Czech dude is going to get the ball away from him). Wade and Bryant out on the wings sending crosses in to LeBron would be completely unstoppable. Kobe’s defensive tenacity would also disrupt the other team’s playmakers.


Troy Polamalu, Roy Williams, Sean Taylor, and Ben Wallace: As Americans, we all hate the flopping. But we may have to learn to live with it, if Team USA starts Polamalu, Williams, Taylor, and Wallace, which I like to call the “We’ll give you something to cry about!” backline. Not to pick on the English, but if Wayne Rooney tried that nut-stomping on, say, Wallace, I think we all know that getting a red card would be the least of his problems. Also, USA would be partaking in the grand tradition of fantastic World Cup hair, between Polamalu and Wallace (since I’m the manager of this team, I’m mandating that Wallace go with the full-on, blown-out afro at all times).

Now THAT is what I'm talking about...


Kevin Garnett: KG is 6 feet, 11 inches of arms, legs, and ridiculous intensity. I’ve been watching the World Cup, and when the games go to penalty kicks, sometimes even when the goalies guess the right direction, they can’t dive far enough to get to the ball. Let’s just say, that wouldn’t be a problem with Garnett.

A menacing keeper, don't you think?

Am I crazy, or would these guys have just destroyed, say, Italy?


spinachdip said...

I like the list, but I've seen footage of Kobe playing soccer, and let's just say he doesn't look nearly as coordinated as Crouchy. Still, I'd watch those eleven play.

CrimeNotes said...

Despite all of my earlier bitching, I think I'm now mildly interested in soccer.

It pains me to admit that.

brian, blog pinup said...

I agree and think... {thud}

Oh no! The force of this post has pushed me off my chair onto the floor! Oh the agony! Oh the pain! I clearly deserve a penalty! (Am trying out for the Italian team in four years)

Anyway -- not Braylon Edwards in goal? C'mon, they don't need to catch the thing, just knock it down -- Mr. Edwards' specialty.

Crunk Raconteur said...

Hee hee hee...well done on the reference of Mr. McDropsalot.

But I don't want to even get started on BrayLon. Months...months Flop spent trying to convince me to get over my general loathing of Hands-of-Stone and get on board with him as the new star of my favorite team. I finally got on board, and before the game even ended he had blown out his knee.

Also, SpinDip, that's pretty disappointing that Kobe is a bad soccer player. I was counting on his experience growing up in Europe to help him be a good soccer player. Oh well. His spot can be taken by Chris Paul or Chauncey Billups.

brian, blog pinup said...

Not to beat a dead horse here but...

First off, this is beyond brilliant. The Italian national team training video!

Secondly, isn't there a Steve Nash/soccer connection? This "NBA players could be good at soccer if they tried" argument could be augmented by it.

Thirdly, Crunk, not much I can say re: Braylon. I always wanted to like the guy but he had *so* many drops at our beloved UM -- then *so* many brilliant catches -- its tough to deal with. The joke was he switched his number to #1 from #80 because "he drops every ball that hits him in the numbers, so they gave him a thinner number."

Har har. I know.

beast of burden said...

You don't want Chauncey Billups. No lateral quickness. Nash would be great, except he is Canadian ...

If you want a baseball player, how about Carlos Beltran? Great speed, outstanding body control.

Am I giving this too much thought? Wait -- don't answer that ...

Crunk Raconteur said...

Steve Nash would be great for this, but as Beast pointed out, he's Canadian.

Beltran I considered, but was a casualty of my subpar researching. I thought he was Dominican (and, as such, ineligible), but it turns out he's from Puerto Rico. He could slot in for Kobe.