Ex-NFL six-time pro-bowler Chad Johnson makes a soccer debut in Boca Raton’s season opener against Port Saint Lucie United on Saturday, March 16 after he has quitted American football to play soccer. As announced on Tuesday, Chad “Ochocinco” has signed a deal with semi-professional Boca Raton FC after a five-month trial. 41-year-old wide receiver is going to spend the whole 2019 season with the soccer club of the United Premier Soccer League, according to the contract.
Johnson known for his 10 seasons at Cincinnati Bengals has successfully passed the five-month trial at Boca Raton as a striker. He had scored one goal and two assists within his first 5 pre-season games. For his outstanding performance, Johnson was admitted to the team with the same number 85 shirt and “Ochocinco” nickname he saved from his American football career.
“I’m really excited to join the team and contribute in any way possible,” Chad commented his contract with Boca Raton. He is happy about his new career spiral, even more so because, according to him, playing soccer was a childhood dream he was never able to fulfill in his life. This new uphill challenge is more desired for Johnson than a proven track record in football he boasts now, so now he can use his social media accounts or create a sports website to share his experience what it is like to play both football and soccer.
Johnson had been an NFL wide receiver for 11 years out of 16 years he’s given to American football career playing for the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Cincinnati Bengals. He’s also known as a six-time Pro-Bowler. After being drafted by Ohio-based Cincinnati Bengals team back in 2001, he has stayed with the professional AF franchise for 10 seasons. At the Bengals, he is still honored for a number of “all-time” records such as the all-time receiving touchdown record, all-time receiving yards record, and all-time receiving record. Last time he was seen on a gridiron field was in 2017 when he was playing only one game for the Mexico-based American football team Monterrey Fundidores.
Jim Rooney, Boca Raton’s coach, is happy to have Chad Johnson on the soccer pitch, stating in the club release that their No 85 is a “tremendous athlete” who is going to prove himself on the soccer field similar to how he did it on the gridiron. “Chad has had some great training and preseason matches with us,” he told, “and we are excited to continue this journey with him.”
The true fan of La Liga club Real Madrid, Johnson confesses that he has always loved soccer above all kinds of sports, but when it came to the professional career, he considered football.
It’s not the first time Johnson was spotted pursuing a soccer career. Many years ago, during the 5-month NFL lockout in 2011, he was on a trial at the Sporting Kansas City, American professional soccer club. He also once told about his ambitions to play for the Mexican professional soccer team Club Leon (Liga MX). His decision to play for semi-pro Boca Raton seems to be a compromise with his prior sports career ambitions. Maybe, it’s one of the cases when a dream means more than a status.