Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson is picking up a new sport: Soccer.
The man formerly known as “Chad Ochocinco” has signed a contract with semi-professional soccer club Boca Raton FC, the team announced Tuesday. Johnson will make his soccer debut Saturday as a forward in the United Premier Soccer League.
“Chad is a tremendous athlete. He has proven himself (on) the gridiron and will now prove himself in the soccer pitch,” Boca Raton FC coach Jim Rooney said in a statement. “Chad has had some great training and preseason matches with us and we are excited to continue this journey with him.”
Johnson made six Pro Bowl appearances in 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots, finishing his career with 766 receptions for more than 11,000 yards. But he was best-known for his personality outside of football, from his outrageous touchdown celebrations to his outspoken nature off the field.
Johnson, who briefly changed his last name to “Ochocinco” in honor of his jersey number, last played in the NFL in 2011. That same year, Johnson had a four-day tryout with Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City.
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“I’m really excited to join the team and contribute in any way possible,” the 41-year-old said in a statement. “For me, this is more than just an opportunity but a dream come true that I was never able to fulfill during my childhood.”
Johnson will, of course, wear No. 85 for Boca Raton FC, according to the club.
Contact Tom Schad at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.