The Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback spoke with Goal about his interest in soccer and his favorite player, U.S. team star midfielder Clint DempseyCLEVELAND -- There were a few dozen fans at Cleveland's First Energy Stadium on Tuesday to watch the U.S. national team's practice, including several players from the NFL's Cleveland Browns.
Brandon Weeden and Greg Little were among six Browns players who showed up to catch a glimpse as the U.S. prepared for Wednesday's exhibition match against Belgium. Weeden, Cleveland's starting quarterback, is a casual soccer fan and was happy to see his favorite soccer player in action.
"I would say Clint Dempsey is my favorite player, watching him play is pretty special," Weeden told Goal. "He's one of the veterans on this team and a great player."
It is rare for soccer matches to be played in Cleveland as well as in Weeden's hometown of Oklahoma City, so the NFL player admitted that Tuesday's practice was the first time he's had an up-close look at pro soccer.
"Obviously on TV I enjoy watching it, but I'm pretty impressed. These guys are unbelievable athletes," Weeden said. "The way they control and move the ball around is pretty cool. "
Weeden made history last year for being the oldest player to ever be drafted in the NFL's first round at 28 years old. As he watched the Stars and Stripes practice, Weeden said he was impressed with the amount of athleticism needed to play soccer. He joked that he couldn't play the sport, and that's coming from a multi-sport athlete who had a brief stint in Major League Baseball.
"I'll be honest, I didn't grow up playing soccer. I played baseball, basketball and football but I have a tremendous amount of respect for these guys," Weeden said. "They are world-class athletes. This is something I couldn't do growing up, running around and kicking the ball around like these guys."