Dempsey, Our Hero/USMNT (Remix)

This link is a short argument from ESPN.com about how Clint Dempsey, the most successful American soccer player in recent history on the European stage, should leave Fulham to join a better team:

http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/story/_/id/7973363/clint-dempsey-leave-fulham-jurgen-klinsmann-says

I couldn’t agree more with Klinsmann.  Dempsey needs to show that an American outfield player can make it at the highest levels.  As the US produces more talent, young players need to see that an American actually can make it to the summit of the beautiful game.  Until more young athletes believe that soccer can be a legitimate occupation one day, basketball and football (maybe baseball… maybe) will continue to take too many promising athletes from our ridiculously large pool of star-and-striped talent.

The future of American soccer, incarnate.

Just for fun, imagine how nasty the US National Team would be if we focused our athletes predominantly on one sport like most of the rest of the world.  In this lineup, I’ve inserted some of our most extraordinary non-soccer-playing freaks of nature into what I like to call the Remixed US Men’s National Team (numbers given out mostly arbitrarily).  If we’re ever going to be a five-star FIFA team, we’re going to need a team like this:

GK- #1 James, LeBron

Guy’s a natural.

It was not a question of “if” but rather “where” Lebron would end up on this list.  I put him in the net because that’s exactly where a 6’8″ behemoth should be.  His leaping and body control would be helpful for punching out crosses as well as diving to the corners. A 7’5″ wingspan couldn’t hurt either.  To those who say he might have issues getting to the ground for worm burners, I answer: He’s LeBron James.  He’ll figure it out.

LB- #23 Revis, Darrelle

Obviously. A marking dream.

CB- #5 Willis, Patrick

Try to dribble by Mr. Willis and be clotheslined by a dumbbell.

I thought about how intimidating trying to get around this guy would be.  Then I laughed.  I would never try to circumnavigate this person against his will in any event. This 6’1″, 240-pound mountain of a man runs a 4.51 40 yard dash.

CB- #3 Wade, Dwayne

The Heat get a second selection to the USMNT.  D-Wade makes the list for his tenacity, fairly muscular build, quickness and general quickness  Also, like many soccer players, he’s always hurt.  I even let him keep his number.

I wanted to put Ed Reed here as CBs have to play the proverbially centerfield much like free safeties, but I think some height is important for a central defender.  Wade has 5 inches on Reed.

Reed, soon after hearing about nearly missing out on this historic list.

RB- #6 Haden, Joe

Speedy cornerback with a bright future.  Just like Revis, his ability to stick to wideouts would translate nicely into shutting down wingers.

RDM-  #8 Polamalu, Troy

Anytime you can put a guy on the field with no disregard for his own safety, you take that opportunity.  I’m not sure if such a lack of caution is evolutionarily advantageous, but hey, his family line made it this far.

A strong safety just makes sense here.  Aggressive, speedy (4.33), and powerful, Polamalo would make one hell of a ball-winner in the middle.  If I’m Klinsmann, I’d have everyone’s favorite Head and Shoulders advocate hold in the middle and give ***SPOILER ALERT*** CP3 more license to help the attack.

His mane would strike fear in would-be playmakers.

Now that I’ve given away the other CDM…

LDM- #7 Paul, Chris

CP3 becomes CP7.  I know, it’s less catchy, but Wade made a huge fuss about keeping his number.  The 4-time NBA steals leader would be perfect for making key takeaways in the middle and then distributing up to the scorers, much like he does now on the hardwood.

CAM- #9 Rose, Derrick

Both a prolific scorer and gifted playmaker, I’m thinking he’s the Mesut Ozil of our remixed team. He’s also 6’3″ with a 40-inch vertical, so he’d be dangerous in the air too.  In this 4-3-3, I’d give Rose the freedom to venture Cruyff-like from sideline to sideline or even up past the striker.  Welker or Kobe can drop to cover if necessary.

I didn’t want to go two players in a row without a picture, so here’s one of Derrick Rose. A concerned Simba, future King of Pride Rock and all surrounding lands, looks on.

LW-  #12 Welker, Wes

Arjen Robben is the prototype here.  I’m thinking Welker’s pace would give him the ability to whip in crosses from the flanks and also cut inside and rip shots from just outside the 18. And he could do all that without being anywhere near as creepy as the Dutchman.

Arjen Robben: Clearly creepier than Wes Welker.

F- #10 Johnson, Calvin

Think Drogba, just slightly larger.  With his size, speed (a holy crap-worthy 4.32), and leaping ability, Megatron would dominate on crosses.  At 6’5″, 236 pounds, how could you miss him?

Johnson would be great in the air, partly because he’s one of the most athletic wide receivers in the world and partly because his crown of mysterious alien metal would send a ball screaming into the net.

RW- #24 Bryant, Kobe

Kobe actually loves soccer, a fact that’s less surprising when you consider that he spent some of his younger years in Italy.  Not only is Kobe an amazing athlete and deadly finisher, but he plays defense, too, so I’m thinking he’d be a decent two-way contributor.  He’s got good intangibles: he’s a proven winner, mentally strong, and relishes big moments.  I just hope a decade or two of growing up as a soccer player would be enough to teach him to pass a little more.

If only.

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