Visiting the home of the world's most popular sports league, linebacker Patrick Willis said he once thought kick ball was the same as soccer, Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, making his first trip outside of the United States, claimed to know only 'a little bit' about the Beautiful Game.
"It’s very interesting to meet the Tottenham players," Kaepernick said on Monday, six days before the 49ers face the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. "How they are built and how they move is a lot different to us. We are strong and powerful, they are very smooth with everything they do. Their footwork is amazing."
Kaepernick, one of the most mobile QBs in the game, said he hasn’t always been the best with his feet and "couldn’t play (soccer) too well," while Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen apparently had trouble throwing a football at the event held at Spurs Lodge.
"I was over there with a guy called John... Jan? He was trying to throw a football and he didn’t look like he knew how to use his hands and whatnot," Willis said. "Then you watch him kick and it’s so natural - and it’s vice versa with us."
Spurs' Lewis Holtby pointed out the explosive nature of football with a lot more stops and starts in the game compared to soccer but said more stamina is needed to play soccer. "In the longer term our game is more exhausting than their game," the midfielder said.
The 49ers are set to play the Jags in the second NFL game held in London this season as the league eyes a possible expansion overseas. The Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers drew a crowd of 83,518 during their game on Sept. 29.
"Nobody is going to stop this idea of the Premier League going opposite ways across the Atlantic Ocean," 49ers owner John Hall said. "The Premier League is doing a whole lot more in the U.S. and there’s new things going on with the NFL here in the UK."