The U.S. Men's Soccer team is training at the NovaCare Complex this week for Saturday's Gold Cup quarterfinal match against Panama. Tickets are still available to see the squad that came just short of upsetting Brazil in the final of the world renowned Confederations Cup.
After practice, the national football players got to meet a resident football player who shares the same skill that they have. Kicker David Akers hung out with Stuart Holden and Santino Quaranta after practice. Akers showed the two national stars the art of kicking a field goal. Akers then took his shot at the soccer goal from long range. The biggest difference Akers said is that he's used to lifting the ball over the crossbar, whereas here he's trying to keep the ball level.
Akers also took some penalty kicks and showed some impressive form. The biggest difference between being a placekicker in the NFL and a soccer player is that the ball is always moving and you have to deal with players trying to sweep you as you kick. Akers definitely doesn't plan on changing careers anytime soon. The last time he played competitive soccer was his junior year of high school when he was offered a scholarship to Kentucky. Of course, we all know that Akers ended up as a Louisville Cardinal.
We've heard about how Akers needs to drink Pepto Bismol before games and how P90X helped transform his body for his amazing 2008 season. But I never knew that on his left foot he wears a soccer shoe 1 1/2 sizes too small so that it forms to his foot to provide the best contact. He wears a 7 1/2 shoe on his left foot in case you were wondering.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 5:30 p.m., July 15