Some of the Carolina Panthers play table tennis after lunch. It’s not ping-pong the way they do it. They have talent.
“We’ve started rankings,” says kicker Rhys Lloyd. “Matt Moore’s No. 1, I’m No. 2. Lester (Ricard, a quarterback) says he’s No. 3.”
But Lloyd and Moore have yet to make it official.
What is official is that Moore
“He’s beaten me twice and I’ve beaten him a lot,” Moore
Lloyd is an athlete, an excellent golfer and soccer player. He grew up in England
“There might be a five-minute episode on the London Monarchs,” says Lloyd. “It would be, ‘Oh, really.’ That’s it. We’d hear about the all-American teams like the Cowboys, the Dolphins, the 49ers.”
Lloyd has one of the most powerful legs I’ve seen. The impact sounds different when he strikes the ball. In soccer, the idea was to keep the ball low, below head level. In football, he had to adjust to height, to getting the ball up quickly.
That was his only adjustment. Being part of a team here is like being part of a soccer team there.
“It’s something very special,” Lloyd, 26, says. “Charlotte's a great city and N.C. is a great state, and I can sit here with my teammates and talk to somebody making the league minimum or with a millionaire. It’s all the same.”
He regularly checks Sky Sports and the Internet for soccer news.
Are you saying the Charlotte Observer’s soccer coverage is not sufficient?
“A few scores in the corner and then back to the regular stuff,” he says.
Lloyd has good taste in literature. I’m not a soccer fan. But I read a great novel, life entwined with soccer, by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity”) called “Fever Pitch.”
“First book I read cover to cover,” says Lloyd.