Here's a posting for the 4 percent to 12 percent (might that be high?) of football fans who might have a passing interest in the world's biggest sporting event (the World Cup), being conducted now in South Africa. (I must admit to actually liking soccer.) ... Soccer fan (and former player) Chris Jenkins, the Bills' director of media relations, sent me this starting 11, with analysis, of a mythical Bills FC:
GK: James Hardy - size, hands, athleticism, basketball background. Would rule the box. Similar to Dida (Brazil, AC Milan).
LB: Brian Moorman - Dependable, has speed and athleticism, tough, would be hard to beat, smart enough to get forward when the opportunity presents itself, but won't take unnecessary risks. Similar to a Gary Neville (England, Manchester United). RB: Ryan Fitzpatrick - aggressive, will take chances, strong, smart, competitive, good feel for the game, can run and compete with opposing forwards athletically, will challenge opposition all game. Taller, stronger Phillip Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich). Sweeper: George Wilson (Captain) - Organizer in the back, composed, vocal, puts guys in the appropriate spots, athletic enough, always a step ahead of the offense. Similar to a Marcel Desailly (former French centerback). Stopper: Kyle Williams - Strong as an ox, athletic (more so than people give him credit for), endless energy, will wear down opposing forwards, tenacious, just plays hard all game, little bit dirty. Really a one-of-a-kind player. Kinda like defensive midfielder Gennero Gattuso (Italy, AC Milan).
DCMF: Jairus Byrd - composed, manages game well, knows when to take risks moving forward or hang back defensively if necessary, great vision, great instincts, would cause turnovers and distribute to launch counterattack. Similar to a Michael Essien (Ghana, Chelsea). Always around the ball. LMF: Steve Johnson - Rangey, cat-quick, creative, has size to play the ball in the air on backside crosses, has long legs and speed to outrun defenders. Really a match-up nightmare. Can take risks going forward with the dependable Moorman playing behind him. Similar to a Thierry Henry (France, Barcelona). RMF: Lee Evans - World-class speed, match-up nightmare for defenses, ability to get forward and attack the goal, will track back if necessary and allow Fitz to make overlapping runs. Think Theo Walcott (England, Arsenal), but strong enough to stay on the ball. CMF: Fred Jackson (Vice captain) - Vision, crafty, slippery, makes good decisions with the ball, physical, strong, deciptively fast with ball at his feet, controls the flow of the game, can run all 90 minutes. Similar to USA center-mid Michael Bradley.
FWD: Marshawn Lynch - Strong, aggressive, attacking mentality, will get to the goal by any means necessary. Defenders do not want to have him running at them. Kind of like a Carlos Tevez (Argentina, Mancester City), but way bigger and stronger. FWD: Aaron Schobel - Goal scorer's mentality, only worried about going forward, fast, athletic, can be creative, agile, has size and jumping ability to get involved in the air (think about the INT-TD @NE). Always had a good relationship with Lynch, would partner well up top, their mutual respect is the key to their success. He's really a taller Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United).
MANAGER: Kirk Chambers - team's resident soccer expert. Cerebral. Would make the right tactical adjustments. ASSISTANTS: Torell Troup (huge soccer fan) and Rian Lindell (former player).
(I think it's clear this team would pick up a lot of yellow and red cards. ... Chambers would need to frequently call on his bench.)
Chambers played a lot of pickup soccer in high school and then developed more interest in the game while on his Mormon mission in Berlin in 1998 and '99. He speaks fluent German. "I’m trying to to drum some interest up. There are some guys in there who are soccer fans. Troup is. Lindell is. Fitzy is. I’m trying to convert a few. Some guys are interested, some just want nothing to do with it."
"I follow Germany because I went there on my mission and I’m familiar with the country," Chambers said. "It’s not a bad team to back because they’re generally pretty good. I’ve watched most of the matches."