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Kick Squad and Hands Team

P Marquette King and WR Rod Streater worked on their soccer skills during the San Jose Earthquakes Friday practice.

Football met American football on Friday when P Marquette King and WR Rod Streater attended the San Jose Earthquakes soccer practice at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Earthquakes defender/midfielder Jordan Stewart invited King and Streater to practice. "We were talking to each other and were saying we should link up the NFL with the soccer league and have me and Streater come out and get work with him," said King.

Stewart and King had started a mini Twitter war that they felt had to be settled on the soccer pitch. "I know Marquette so we were having a bit of a Twitter war to say who's better, either soccer or American football, so we decided to come out on the field and see who's best," explained Stewart.

King and Streater started their day in the Earthquakes weight room, stretching and preparing for their first professional soccer practice. They then took the field in their San Jose uniforms where, before practice even began, Streater was thrown into the fire, standing in goal against Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski.

"He was struggling," Stewart laughed. "Afterwards I was like, 'why weren't you diving?' He said, 'well, the ball was too quick.' I don't think he realized how close the ball is when you take a penalty kick, so the goalkeeper is trying to give him a few pointers, so hopefully we can improve his skills in goal."

"He can kick the ball," said Streater during practice. "I had no chance out there but I'm going to redeem myself in Round 2. I've been practicing."

After the impromptu shootout, King and Streater took part in a 5v2 drill, in which the players create a circle with two players in the middle. The idea is to one-touch the ball to a teammate without the two players in the middle stealing the ball away. "The thing that was most fun was when we first started, everybody got in a circle and you hit the ball and it's like playing monkey in the middle, keeping the person in the middle from getting the ball. I messed up a few times, it was fun," said King.

The Earthquakes fitness coach, Greg Tella, a Raiders fan himself, then put the two Raiders through their paces, subjecting them to the endurance aspect of soccer. "They did well actually. I'm impressed," said Tella. "They're athletic guys already, so it's just a different kind of running, a different kind of movement for them. It's more consistent, more endurance-based, so I think it was a little taxing for them, but I think they did well."

"I grew up watching the Raiders," said Tella. "My dad loved the Raiders, so it's great to see them come out and support our team, be a part of our community, we love it. It's nice to see them out for sure."

King and Streater saw the practice as a great opportunity to cross-train for OTAs. "Soccer conditioning is constant running and not really getting a chance to take a break unless the ball is away from you," said King. "Football conditioning is more explosion, then you take a break. Plays in football usually last five-to-seven seconds most of the time, but when it comes to soccer, you're constantly running and not getting as much break time."

"Always changing up the workout is good," added Streater. "It was pretty different. Soccer is high endurance and football is more explosive, so to get that endurance in and the conditioning is really good for us."

It was beneficial to work with Tella through the middle part of practice. "The conditioning aspect of it, it forces me to get in shape. I'm not trying to slack off if I have a coach in my face telling me what to do," said King. "I want to make sure I'm doing everything right because they're giving us the opportunity to come into their world and do what they do."

After a short breather, King taught some of the Earthquakes how to punt and then launched some sky-high punts for the soccer players to try to catch. "[King and Streater] did pretty well," said Wondolowski. "They got into a passing drill – 5v2 – and they held their own; it was pretty good. And then us trying to catch punts, that was pretty special because not many of us could. It was definitely difficult."

The two squads – Raiders and Earthquakes – earned a new level of respect for each other's different skill sets. "I have a lot of respect. I didn't realize they run this much. It's a lot of hard work," said Streater.

If there was any question of a punter's athleticism, King proved himself to everyone during practice. "You should see Marquette because he's definitely an athlete and his leg power is pretty special," said Wondolowski. "I wouldn't want to get tackled by him either."

The guys also enjoyed meeting other Bay Area professional athletes. "It's cool to meet other athletes and just getting to know what they go through and their workouts and what helps them get better," said King.

Wondolowski, a long-time Raiders fan, especially appreciated the visit from the Raiders. "It was great. Huge Raiders fan, so it's pretty cool seeing these guys out on the field and seeing the work that they do, but also get to meet them and see how cool they are and down to earth guys," said Wondolowski. "I think it's great to have that camaraderie [between the two teams] and to be able to intermingle, it's pretty nice and it's a good thing.

King felt a sort of kinship with the Earthquakes. "It's kind of like having a bunch of kickers together now," said King. "We all kick; we all have something in common. It's pretty cool."

Streater , who is taking the time to immerse himself in the Bay Area sports culture, enjoyed his time as well. "It's an honor to be out here," said Streater. "Last month was the Warriors, and now it's the Earthquakes, so it's pretty cool to be out here and do these types of things."

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