Friday , Aug , 10 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Soccer The Secret To Steve Nash & The Phoenix Suns’ Success?

Many of Nash’s passes are delivered at an acute angle-like in soccer. Think of those tough backdoor passes to a cutting Leandro Barbosa. Recollect on those highlight reel pick-and-roll plays, where Nash somehow finds a way to deliver the rock to Amare Stoudemire. His ability to make the tough pass was probably fostered on the soccer field, too …

Nathaniel Vinton, a New York Times writer, reports on Steve Nash’s off-season training regiment:

It was easy to tell who the sports fans were in Central Park on Tuesday afternoon. They were the ones doing double takes, pulling out their camera phones and snapping photographs of two top professional athletes who were nudging soccer balls around in the grass.

Steve Nash, a two-time most valuable player in the N.B.A., and Claudio Reyna, once a mainstay on the United States national soccer team, were warming up for what was supposed to be a pickup soccer game in the Sheep Meadow between one of Nash’s recreational-league teams and several players for the Red Bulls, Reyna’s professional squad in Major League Soccer.

Nash spends most of the year running the point for the Phoenix Suns, but in the off-season, he can be found playing soccer in rec leagues in New York.

Here’s what Reyna thought of Nash’s foot skills:

“He’s got the vision like on the court,” Reyna said. “When you have vision in soccer, you can connect the pass. It’s the same idea. You can see that from playing basketball, and also from growing up playing soccer, he understands the game.”

My Quick Take: I’m from Vancouver, Canada. That’s close to Nash’s hometown of Victoria for geographically-challenged individuals.

Most people know was a feared footballer/soccer player as a child. He excelled at the sport until his mid-teenage years before focusing on hoops full-time.

Three years ago I worked as a beat writer for the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Caps are the city’s professional soccer team, playing one small notch below Major League Soccer, which is the league David Beckham currently plays in. Nash’s brother, Martin, is a standout center midfielder for Vancouver; he controls the game with his smooth passes and strong soccer IQ. Sound familiar?

Steve’s game with the Suns is heavily influenced by soccer. As Reyna says Nash’s excellent vision and passing skills were probably developed on the pitch instead of the hardwood. And Nash’s vision is the key to the Suns success; in fact, it’s their identity.

Many of Nash’s passes are delivered at an acute angle-like in soccer. Think of those tough backdoor passes to a cutting .  Recollect on those highlight reel pick-and-roll plays, where Nash somehow finds a way to deliver the rock to . His ability to make the tough pass was probably fostered on the soccer field, too.

One day Nash and Phoenix could win an NBA Title. If that happens, the sport of soccer, rejected by most North Americans, will have played a small part in the victory.

Has the game of soccer influenced the Phoenix Suns’ style? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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