When Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi blitzes down the soccer field, if you take away the roaring crowd and opponents trying to chop him down before he can position himself to score or set up a goal, you’re basically left with a shampoo commercial.
Seriously, Head & Shoulders should put Zusi on a beach, sprinting through the sand with his wavy brown locks flowing behind him gloriously tickled by the breeze.
When Roger Espinoza transferred to Wigan Athletic in the English Premier League and now that Chance Myers trimmed his long blonde locks, Zusi became Sporting KC’s new (and largely undisputed) mane man.
“Even with those guys, I think I had the best hair on the team — no question about it,” Zusi joked. “It just makes my job a little easier now.”
Of course, it’s not as if Zusi’s job was hard to begin with. He insists that it takes the bare minimum for him to be perfectly coiffed.
“Every now and then, I get asked what kind of conditioner I use,” Zusi said. “I don’t use conditioner. It’s all natural.”
Therein lies the trouble the with starring in a shampoo commercial: Without truth in advertising, our democracy crumbles, so maybe Zusi should stick to soccer.
The greatness that is Graham Zusi’s hair might be eclipsed only by the greatness he consistently brings to the field now that he’s become the main man for Sporting KC.
“He’s our main focal point,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “He embodies who I think we are as a club — cutting edge, always pushing the boundaries, centered around excellence and completely committed to the organization as a team guy.
“You don’t come around a lot of guys like Graham in your career. He’s special and hugely important to what we’re trying to do and we continue to strive for here.”
Zusi, 26, will play in his second consecutive AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday at Sporting Park. He’s established himself as a rising star with the U.S. men’s national team and was a finalist for MLS MVP last season.
“His movement off the ball is unbelievable, he’s got great service and he’s great in the attacking half as far as finishing as well,” defender Seth Sinovic said. “He does it all. He’s huge for us. Over the past three years, you can see his confidence growing and growing.”
The brighter spotlight hasn’t seemed to faze Zusi, who signed a three-year contract extension with Sporting KC last month, in the slightest. If anything, it’s prodded him to aspire to and reach even greater heights.
“He makes our team go and he’s been proving that for the last two years,” defender Matt Besler said. “He’s been one of our biggest players, but you can see him stepping his game up even more, which is scary. He’s getting better still. He’s easily one of the most-talented players in the league and he’s for sure playing like it.”
Now, about that hair? Captain Jimmy Nielsen and rookie midfielder get some love for their look.
“Kevin Ellis’ hairstyle right now is pretty unique, so maybe he’s in the competition too,” Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman said.
Perhaps we should leave it up to Vermes to decide.
“I can’t believe you’re even asking me that question,” Vermes said with an ornery smile. “That’s not even my world. I could (not care less) about that kind of stuff.”
OK, so Zusi it is.