Ochocinco to play in MLS practice game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has caught a break. His budding soccer career, which even he admits is a long shot, has been extended to include a practice game with a Major League Soccer team.

Sporting Kansas City has asked the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver to play in their reserve team's game on Monday against a local squad.

Ochocinco, who says he actually preferred soccer until he was persuaded to focus entirely on football after the 10th grade, began a four-day trial with the MLS team on Wednesday in part as a way to stay fit and keep busy during the NFL lockout. The Cincinnati Bengals star admitted he was rusty after so many years away from the game.

He seemed nervous and a bit out of shape on his first day but a Sporting KC spokesman said he appeared much more comfortable during his second practice.

On Monday, he can be nervous all over again: He will play the right forward position against the Kansas City Brass, a minor league team.

"This is not unusual," team spokesman Dave Borchardt said.

"They like for trialists to have a chance to play in at least one game, a chance to be evaluated even further. It's the same opportunity that is given most trialists."

Never one to avoid the spotlight, Ochocinco admitted this week that once football owners and players work out their differences, he'll be back running pass patterns for the Bengals. But he also insisted he is sincere in wanting to play soccer.

"There a lot of people who question how serious I am about it.

But for those who know me, who know my background, this is where it all started," he said.

He also said he would play for free. "I'm pretty much set for a while," he said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)