The writing's been on the wall for days now, but MLS's Sporting Kansas City put an end to the non-speculation today when they announced that Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco would not be offered a contract to play for the team. However, Chad was extended an offer to continue practicing with the club's reserve team.
Although Ochocinco doesn't yet have the chops to make it as a professional soccer player, Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said that he'd "progressed in the days he’s trained with us," calling him an "honorary member." And that's good enough for Chad right now, who said, "It’s awesome [...] Basically I can stay here and train as I please, which is really cool. Words can’t describe how thankful I am to be able to be here."
Vermes went on to say:
"We told him we would not be offering him a contract with the team, but we feel his stay here has been so good in so many ways, we would offer him an opportunity to train with our reserves when they train in the afternoon on certain days of the week and continue to work on his fitness while he’s waiting for the lockout to finish, just because we think he’s become an honorary member of Sporting Kansas City [...] He has been fantastic in all ways. In the locker room with the guys, and just with the staff and everyone else, it’s been a real pleasure."
It's unclear whether Vermes is praising the same Chad Ochocinco who plays for the Bengals. It's also unclear how much Chad's offer to play for free factored into the club's decision to keep him around (read: probably a lot), but regardless Ochocinco is excited about the opportunity to train with the club:
"Playing with these guys on this type of level …" Ochocino said … "People don’t understand … I understand because I understand the game, but I’ve been away from it so long, how good these guys really are. To be able to stay out here and practice with them until the lockout gets resolved … I’ll be in ridiculous shape."
Sure, you might be saying to yourself, he'll be able to run, but will any of this help him catch the ball? I guess we'll see, but in the meantime the good folks of Kansas City better keep their Twitter ears peeled for Chad's famous group outings