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10 Professional Soccer Players Who Could Play In the NFL

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10 Professional Soccer Players Who Could Play in the NFL

Soccer 10
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The argument always seems to come up between soccer players and football players about which sport’s athletes are tougher or more athletic, but what has been largely ignored are the similarities between the types of athletes that each sport requires.

Both players in the top international soccer leagues -- Bundesliga, European Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, etc. -- and the NFL (specifically the NFL’s skill players) have similar heights, weights, sprint speeds, etc. The athletes in both sports have different skill sets, but the athleticism is universal.

If many of these soccer players had grown up playing American football, they may have ended up in the NFL instead. It’s all up to location and nationality as to what sport that they grew up loving.

Athletes tend to want to play as many sports as possible. Chad Ochocinco, the eccentric, attention-craving superstar of the Cincinnati Bengals for so many years, even had a stint on the reserve squad for the MLS team Sporting Kansas City.

As both a soccer fan and an NFL fan, I began to wonder what if soccer wasn’t the world’s game and American football is what caught the world’s attention? Which professional soccer players would fit best into the NFL?

If you have any other suggestions on potential Soccer/NFL players, feel free to comment. A few NFL teams that are desperate for something to help them win may even take your suggestion to heart. Who knows, “Wayne Rooney to the New York Jets” may end up being a headline this transfer season.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS.

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No. 10 Emmanuel Adebayor

IconSport/USA TODAY Sports

The ex-Arsenal, now Tottenham striker is tall, strong and fast. He has the right body type to have been a fairly successful wide receiver in the NFL.

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No. 9 Yaya Toure

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Toure is known to command his team from the back. He’s defensive-minded and is the last line of defense. He would fit in perfectly as a strong safety.

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No. 8 Nigel De Jong

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Known as one of the meanest players in the world, De Jong would be a great cornerback. He’s small, but active, and his nasty reputation gets into his opponent’s head almost like the St. Louis Rams’ Cortland Finnegan.

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No. 7 Mario Balotelli

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Not only is Balotelli ridiculously muscular and athletic, but he has the right size, ego and temperament for a cornerback in the NFL.

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No. 6 Wayne Rooney

Mitchell Gunn-USA TODAY Sports

Rooney is physical and fast, but can also cut and change directions extremely well. He is the perfect build for a slot receiver, because he gets beat up all the time by tough Premiership defenses and continues to produce.

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No. 5 Theo Walcott


Arguably the fastest soccer player in the world, Walcott would blaze past the secondary as a wide receiver. I don’t know about you, but Tom Brady to Walcott sounds good to me.

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No. 4 Andy Carroll

Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Carroll is big and tall and can also jump extremely high, as his record of headed goals proves. The English striker is built like a tight end; he is extremely physical and would be a nightmare to try and take down.

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No. 3 Hulk

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Even his name is indicative of his size and strength. The Brazilian would make a ferocious linebacker.

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No. 2 Cristiano Ronaldo

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Fast, strong, and with great vision, Ronaldo could have made a great quarterback. He’s faster than Cam Newton, too.

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No. 1 Luis Suarez

Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

The Liverpool and Uruguayan striker is good with his hands, as Ghana found out the hard way in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.