New York Jets kicker Nick Folk stopped by Wedesday's training session to catch up with some of his friends. We caught up with him to get his take on the MLS and his days of playing soccer before he chose football.
You’ve been to a number of games before and chatted with a few of the players but now you had a chance to come down to the new training facility and walk around a bit. What’s your take?
This place is awesome. Being from California and LA I got to see Home Depot Center up close and personal with what they kind of did for the Galaxy there and I think that kind of set the standard for MLS teams in general. This is top notch here. This is private, secluded, guys can come in and no one’s going to bug them, no one’s going to worry about where they’re practicing. They have everything they need in here, I got a little mini tour of the weight room and training room and all of it’s top notch. It’s just fantastic to see from what they came from, because I had a chance to go to Montclair once, to this, is just night and day. And I think talking to most of the guys they really enjoy it.
When you first became a fan of this league in 1996, would you have ever at that time expected a player like Thierry Henry or Tim Cahill to play here. To come over the Atlantic to join this league.
Not then. I kind of, I guess I was in college in the mid-2000s, I saw the league was growing. They were adding expansion teams here and there. Some teams were getting their own stadiums like LA, so it was growing enough to where they could do their own things with it. There was a definite possibility that it could have happened, but not until really when David Beckham came over that I found it a full possibility and a full reality that it had happened. I think they’re having fun here, enjoying they’re time here. Talking to those guys, it’s been fun getting to know some of these guys and why they’re over here. I was talking to Thierry today and I said, “How are you guys doing?” Because I don’t pay too much attention to the standings. Soccer wise I’m used to the European stuff where one to twenty, you play each team home and away. He said most years you don’t know until the last three, maybe four games, who is going to the playoffs. The first thing I said was, ‘That’s the power of the salary cap for you.’ And he shook his head and said yeah you’re right. To me the salary cap is what we live with over here in major sports. But I think it’s good that there’s so much turnover for MLS because that’s what they’re used to in other sports that have, like the NFL, you don’t see many teams win back to back championships because each team spends roughly the same amount of money. So they should spend the same amount on quality players if you’re scouting and developing guys the proper way. It’s fun to talk to them and how they think about it.
You played centerback during your own soccer playing days. Did you ever think what it would be like to go up against Thierry or Tim?
I think I could maybe hold my own in the air, but that’s about it. I haven’t played a lot lately to do any of that. In the air I could maybe hold my own, and just because I’m taller than him. But I don’t know about anything else. Those guys are pretty good. Some of the best players in the world. So I’d have fun kicking the ball around with them, but that’s about it. And see if any one of them can kick a football…