I didn't personally attend Chad Ochocinco's first practice with Sporting Kansas City but I've been reading a lot of the recaps of what his first day was like. The general feeling is that while Ochocinco is a great athlete, he has a ways to go before he's a soccer player.
Here are a few reactions to his first day and for full coverage of Sporting KC check out The Daily Wiz.
"Exactly what I expected," the sixtime Pro Bowler insisted. "I haven't ran at this pace or this level since the end of our season of football. It was fun. I didn't expect to come in here and be Superman."
Ochocinco is fast, that's not debatable. But on Wednesday he was betrayed by a rough first touch and seemed unsure of how to use his feet (not for kicking, but for placement when controlling and positioning his body). Which just so happen to be the two skills that separate football players and futbol players. (It would be like Kei Kamara showing up at Chiefs camp to try out for wide receiver but having stone oven mitts for hands.)
But as practice wore on and the drills became more intricate, Ochocinco exposed himself. Taken aside for an individual workout with a coach, like all trialists are, it became obvious that some of the basics of the game elude him. His dribbling looked passable, if a little clumsy, like a puppy learning to run for the first time. But when it came time to send in crosses, an essential skill for the winger Ochocinco would like to be, the discrepancy between a pro soccer player and a very athletic fan of the game became apparent. Taking too many touches and too much time, he was unable to get a single one of his crosses to its intended target in any kind of acceptable fashion, if it got there at all.
When news broke of the tryout last week, he didn't grant interviews. Instead, he spent the weekend training with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a North American Soccer League team. By all accounts, he flew into town alone, and was described by several Sporting KC players as "quiet," "friendly" and "respectful."