Everyone knew this season was going to be different for Sporting Kansas City. First, the team finally has somewhere to play where they can feel at home rather than being relegated to sharing a tiny baseball field with Kansas City’s semi-pro baseball team. At the new Livestrong Sporting Park, not only will the players feel at home, but they will play at one of the nicest and most modern soccer complexes in North America. Second, the team re-branded in the offseason, changing from the Wizards and getting more of a “soccer” name in Sporting Kansas City, as well as sexy new Uruguay-like uniforms. Then of course came the personnel changes, losing fan favorite and Captain Jimmy Conrad in the draft, trading midfielder Jack Jewsbury, drafting CJ Sapong, and signing Mexican legend and former Guadalajara forward Omar Bravo. Yes sir, this season was going to be very different than any other soccer season in Kansas City, but something was still missing… but what? If two weeks ago someone had said Chad Ochocinco, you would have probably giggled and shrugged it off, but seriously, he is the missing piece, just maybe not in the way you thought.
No one is expecting Chad Ochocinco to be Lionel Messi, but if he can contribute at all as player (I would assume at forward or midfield), then by all means Sporting Kansas City should sign him. We know he has the leg and the athleticism from watching him kick a field goal in the NFL when Shayne Graham was injured (If you haven’t seen it you can watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRdP6HdtTd8) but his knowledge of the game and foot skill are questionable. Not only would he provide depth, but with Ochocinco comes an entire fan base. With no NFL games to watch, what do you think all of those NFL, Bengals, and sports fans will be watching? It would give Sporting KC more publicity and nationally televised games as well as more jersey and ticket sales. Overall, it is good for the organization and the MLS, if he can hold his own.
It is indeed a new era for Kansas City soccer. Because Ochocinco is so big in the United States, this move could end up getting more people to watch the MLS than the David Beckham arrival. Of course none of this applies if the NFL ends the lockout, but for now, Ochocinco is trying out for Sporting Kansas City, no not the Chiefs, but Sporting Kansas City. Now comes the real question, if Chad makes the team will he wear number 85?