Odell Beckham Jr. used his great hands and blazing speed to move all the way up to the 12th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, when the New York Giants selected him to replace Hakeem Nicks, who left via free agency. While he probably doesn’t regret his decision to follow through on that whole football thing, Beckham recalls that a USMNT tryout invitation from his youth could have changed everything today had he accepted it back then.
“I played seriously until I was about 13 or 14 then the(US) national team wanted me to try out for it,” Beckham said via the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “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.”
It’s not hard to believe. Beckham has blazing speed to go along with his great instincts and he looks like he’d be a natural fit on any pitch. Such is sports in America. The country sports the best athletes in the world, but soccer has simply never been a viable priority for young athletes who prefer to pursue professional careers that pay lucrative sums in the States. Sports like football also don’t require a young player to move all over and leave his or her family, as Beckham noted.
Team USA’s World Cup run begins Monday at 6PM with a rematch between USA and Ghana.