Chad Ochocinco’s romance with soccer is not over yet.
Sporting Kansas City announced Tuesday that Ochocinco can continue to train with the team’s reserves indefinitely as an “honorary team member,” although he won’t be offered a contract.
“He’s been a pleasure to have here,” coach Peter Vermes said, via Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star. “He’s progressed in the days he’s trained with us . . . He has been fantastic in all ways. In the locker room with the guys, and just with the staff and everyone else, it’s been a real pleasure.”
After practicing Tuesday, Ochocinco said he would head back home and get some things so he could get situated in Kansas City for a long time.
“Words can’t describe how thankful I am to be able to be here,” Ochocinco said. “Playing with these guys on this type of level . . . People don’t understand . . . I understand because I understand the game, but I’ve been away from it so long, how good these guys really are. To be able to stay out here and practice with them until the lockout gets resolved . . . I’ll be in ridiculous shape.”
Yes, it’s a public relations stunt for the team. It gets them noticed. Yes, it keeps Ochocinco’s name in the headlines.
We still think it’s pretty damn cool. Ochocinco’s love for soccer comes through when he talks, and he clearly understands he has no business being on the field with professionals. But the team allows him to practice, he knows his role, and it’s a fun way to spend an offseason away from football.