The United States mens national team kick off their world cup campaign later on today against Ghana in Natal. The Stars and Stripes will have the talents of Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and co to call on in Brazil. But if things had been different Jurgen Klinsmann could have had one Odell Beckham Jr in his 23-man squad this month.
The New York Giants receiver is a massive football (soccer) fan and will be cheering the USMNT on massively against Ghana, Portugal and Germany. He also had the chance to play for one of the States under age national teams as a teenager, but despite his love of the beautiful game he turned it down.
"I played seriously until I was about 13 or 14 then the(US) national team wanted me to try out for it," Beckham said. "It's just so much for a young kid to have to decide that. You'd have to leave your family. But I always played in the premiere leagues. I was 11 playing U-14, stuff like that. I was always playing up.
"My coaches were from Trinidad and they had connections. They wanted to put me in touch with those guys and try out and do whatever it was."
Beckham was taken in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Giants at the start of May and although he is yet to take a snap in the professional it is looking like he made the right career choice at that young age.
It’s not hard to see how the youngster could succeed in soccer. With lightning pace and great athleticism, Beckham would be a matchup nightmare for any defender on the pitch at 5ft 11inches and 198 pounds.
But such is the way that sports go in America. When you have a talented athlete that excels in different sports, soccer normally goes to the bottom of the list. It’s a shame to see in all honesty and one hopes that there will be a change in the national psyche sooner rather than later.