To celebrate this weekend’s Copa America final between Argentina and Brazil, as well as the Euro 2020 final featuring England and Italy, I thought it would be fun to look at Green Bay Packers players who could make the transition to soccer.
To do this, I haven’t built an entire 11-man starting team, but rather picked one Packers player for different soccer positions.
This includes goalkeeper, center-back, full-back, central midfielder, winger, and striker.
Goalkeeper: Jaire Alexander
Jaire Alexander is a master of getting his hands on the football and forcing incompletions. This would translate well to the goalkeeper role in soccer.
According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander had a 19.1 percent forced incompletion rate last season. He also led the Packers in pass defenses with 13. I’d have great confidence in Alexander’s ability to make great saves and deflect the ball past the posts.
He’s also great at shutting down screen passes. That speed and ability to read the game would help him close down strikers quickly, shut down the angles, and also clear the ball before attacking players reach it.
With Alexander in goal, the Packers would keep plenty of clean sheets.
Center-back: Adrian Amos
Adrian Amos would make a great central defender. In the NFL, he can do a bit of everything. He’s a strong player who rarely makes mistakes, and that’s what you need in the middle of the back-four.
Amos’ ability to read the game would allow him to always be in the right position, while his size and strength would make him tough to beat one-on-one and also strong clearing the ball on set-pieces.
Full-back: Eric Stokes
Eric Stokes’ defensive ability would help this back-four when needed, but he would also offer plenty going forward. Stokes’ blazing speed would allow him to quickly turn defense into attack and make the Packers scary on the counter.
Stokes reads the game well, which helped him make four interceptions in his final season at Georgia. With his ability to break up the play and win back possession, he’d be a perfect choice at full-back where he can defend well but also create attacking opportunities.
Central midfielder: Aaron Rodgers
In the middle of the park, I want a creative midfielder who can link up the defense and attack. A player with incredible accuracy who can find the attacking players with a pin-point pass. Someone who is at the heart of the action but can remain calm, make good decisions, and rarely make mistakes.
Think Luka Modric or Andrea Pirlo. Rodgers ticks many of those boxes and would be my choice in central midfield.
Winger: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
On the outside, we need a player with the speed to get behind defenses and create opportunities for the striker, while also being able to provide some goals on occasion.
Enter MVS. He stretches NFL defenses vertically with his speed, and he would do the same in soccer. The Rodgers-to-MVS connection could come up big in this sport too. With Valdes-Scantling’s speed, he could get open down the field and receive a precise pass from Rodgers, allowing MVS to find his striker in the box…
Striker: Davante Adams
Who else but Davante Adams up front?
Adams is a touchdown machine for the Packers having found the end zone 58 times in the past five seasons. In soccer, he’d turn touchdown catches into goals.
Adams’ release, route-running, and footwork would serve him well in soccer. He’d be a nightmare trying to cover for defenders. Adams could regularly gain separation and find space, allowing the likes of Rodgers and Valdes-Scantling to find him.
And once Adams has the ball at his feet, he’ll find the back of the net more often than not, just as he regularly scores TDs on Sundays.