Luka Doncic put on a little juggling display last night in his pregame warm-up, and it got me thinking who would my starting XI be if I had to draft non-soccer players for a team. We’ll play a traditional 4-4-2 with an attacking edge to our game. Luka is on the squad as one of the centermids. I’m also being a meatball soccer fan by not knowing if all these guys can play. I’m just transferring their other sport abilities/traits into what would make a good soccer player.
I’m always fascinated by pro athletes who can do anything remotely impressive in another sport. I don’t know why because they are pro athletes so I’m sure a lot of stuff comes natural to them, but it’s still sweet. I’m not sure if all of these guys can even dribble a ball, but I don’t care. Let’s take a look at the rest of the squad.
Goalkeeper– Larry Fitzgerald
Between the pipes in the Ivory Panel I need an athlete with incredible hands who doesn’t need the best defense to still show the world he’s great. Also need a vocal leader who can keep an organized back-line. I thought about this one for about 5 seconds and then it came to me. Larry Fitzgerald will be my starting keeper. Talk about Mr. Good Hands. Fitgerald has dropped only 29 passes in his 16-year NFL career, so I don’t have to worry about any untimely rebounds or drops. He’s also 6’3″ which is a perfect size for a keeper.
Central Defenders – Draymond Green and Aaron Donald
Starting with the two center backs I have to select some bullies. I’m not looking for a beautiful defense out of these guys. I need two junkyard dogs who are impossible to get by, and if by the grace of God an attacker gets by my center backs, they’ll shortly be knocked down by a force they won’t forget. Donald is a natural-born stopper, and Draymond is gritty enough to do the little things to keep the back-line stable while Donald carries the load defensively.
Outside Backs- Jacob deGrom and Connor McDavid
The outside backs on this team are going to be up and down the flanks all day. I’m talking 18 yard box to eighteen yard box. These two are some of the most dominant guys in their sports respectively, and having them as tempo-pushers on the outside would be a game changer. All the power in deGrom’s right arm has been transferred to his legs by the way.
Center Midfielders- Luka Doncic and Patrick Mahomes
We’ve already seen what Luka can do with his feet, and we can assume his intangible qualities like vision would transfer seamlessly from the hardwood to the pitch. Mahomes is essentially Messi in this scenario. He’s the centerpiece. His vision to set up wingers and forwards is just like him getting running backs and WR’s involved in the passing game. The no-look passes he’d be dishing out would be a sight to see.
Wingers – Tyreek Hill and Christian McCaffrey
I just want quicksters and guys who are hard to stop in open space on the attack, and these two guys check those boxes. Bonus points for McCaffrey having soccer skills in his D.N.A. His mom Lisa was a star player at Stanford back in the day. Christian even called her the family’s best athlete, thus solidifying the argument that soccer players are better athletes than football players. Embrace debate.
Forwards – Joel Embiid and Brad Marchand
Joel Embiid, like Luka, started off falling in love with soccer before he ever picked up a basketball, and it shows. Embiid is just a freak athlete with a knack for scoring from a variety of ranges, so making him the target man is a no-brainer.
Brad Marchand is just a rat with a great net-front presence. I need a rat on the team. Every team needs one in my opinion. The contrast in Embiid and Marchy makes for a difficult front pair to deal with.