Ndamukong Suh doesn’t exactly look like the prototypical soccer fan or player. This is especially the case when you consider that the 6’4″, 307-pounder plays defensive tackle for the NFL’s Detroit Lions. Nevertheless, the Portland, Oregon native with strong family ties to Cameroon (dad) and Jamaica (mother) is also a big fan of a different kind of football.
“My dad actually got me into soccer very heavily,” Suh told Yahoo Sports. “I’ve had a soccer ball at my feet since I was three and I’ve loved it ever since. And it’s a sport that runs deep in my family, my dad was a professional in Germany when he was very young. And my sister actually played for his country in 2008 in the women’s World Cup. I’m the only one who hasn’t gone and taken it to the full length. I stopped in eighth grade, I kind of went in a different path for football.”
With such a strong soccer presence in his family, it’s easy to see why Suh is a huge soccer fan. And there’s a chance that he’s even done a little 2014 World Cup betting and live wagering too. Okay, so we can’t verify the last statement, but we are pretty confident that the Lions star is watching as many World Cup matches as he can this summer. “I love watching it, I love looking forward to the World Cup every four years,” he said.
As mentioned before, Suh’s dad is from Cameroon, his mom is from Jamaica and he was born and bred in the United States. So who is he actually rooting for in the World Cup? “It’s very tough.” he said. “My dad is from Cameroon, Jamaica doesn’t always make it. But definitely US is a team that I root for as well as Cameroon. This World Cup, US is obviously playing really great and I’m excited about that.
“Cameroon is not doing as hot. And actually the last time that I saw them play, which was in the ’94 World Cup, when I was about seven or eight down in San Francisco, I kind of saw the same thing happen when they played against Russia. Got to see a great player for them, Roger Miller play for them and score a goal – so it was exciting. But I look forward to just watching great games throughout the year. And obviously Premier League soccer, but obviously when the World Cup comes, it’s even more…everybody’s hyped up and into it – so I definitely enjoy it.”
Suh has definitely found his calling in American football, racking up 27.5 sacks, 136 tackles, and proving to be one of the game’s fiercest defensive players in his four NFL seasons. But that doesn’t mean a part of him wouldn’t mind trying a different sport. “I’ve always wished I could’ve gone to the Olympics, won a gold medal,” he said when asked about playing a different sport. “But I’m definitely happy in the NFL. It’s a great sport. And hopefully one that’s gonna expand to go global. Maybe have a game down here in Brazil one time. It’d be exciting. But for the most part, it’d be nice to have an opportunity to play on the US soccer team or Cameroon if I could.”
Quite possibly the most muscular guy at the 2014 World Cup is the Brazilian striker “Hulk.” But if Suh ever got the chance to take the pitch for America or Cameroon, he’d easily dwarf the 5’11”, 190-pound Hulk. Of course, we highly expect him to be suiting up for the Detroit Lions next season, rather than a national soccer team.