MIAMI (Reuters) - Chad Ochocinco, one of the NFL’s top wide-receivers, will have a trial with Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City next week, the team said on Wednesday.
Six-time Pro Bowl selection Ochocinco, who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, responded to news of the NFL’s lockout of players on Saturday by suggesting on twitter he would like to switch sports and play for Sporting.
The team have responded by inviting him for a four-day trial starting on Tuesday.
“Due to the NFL lockout I am excited to be able to follow my childhood dream of playing for a Major League Soccer team,” the 33-year-old said in a statement released by Sporting KC.
Ochocinco has previously posted pictures of himself with top soccer players such as Brazilians Ronaldinho and Kaka on the internet, visited Real Madrid and regularly comments on soccer games.
Sporting coach Peter Vermes said he was interested to see how Ochocinco would turn his athleticism into ability on the soccer field.
”We are always searching for players who can help our team and bringing in new talent. We know that Chad is an exceptional athlete and loves the sport of soccer and he did play a lot when he was younger.
“We are excited to see how his skills will translate once he arrives next week and begins training with our team,” he said.
The team said they would decide after the trial whether or not to extend Ochocinco’s time with the club.
He was born in Miami as Chad Johnson but changed his name in 2008 to reflect a Spanish language version of his shirt number 85.
The NFL and the players’ union are heading to court on April 6 where an anti-trust case will be heard following the breakdown in talks over a new collective agreement.
Editing by Ken Ferris