NBA star Nash gets his kicks on soccer field

8/11/2006 - Soccer Steve Nash Phoenix Suns + more

NEW YORK -- Steve Nash got his kicks with the Red Bulls.

The two-time NBA MVP practiced with the New York soccer team at Giants Stadium on Thursday, ahead of the team's exhibition game Saturday against FC Barcelona.

Red Bulls coach Bruce Arena gave his team strict orders: Don't tackle Nash.

"My biggest concern was him getting hurt," Arena said on the Bulls' Web site. "A friend of mine is one of the assistants at Phoenix, so I don't want to send back the MVP of the NBA in an ambulance."

The Phoenix Suns point guard, who lives in New York in the offseason, grew up playing soccer in Victoria, British Columbia. He won a high school title and attended the recent World Cup in Germany.

"They just were great," Nash said. "They really made it easy for me, they made it a lot of fun for me. They're lucky, they have a great group of guys."

Arena was impressed.

"I think he could probably play in this league," Arena said. "Obviously he's a superbly conditioned athlete. The way you watch him play in the NBA, he's a point guard that probably plays over 40 minutes a game. You see his fitness level is good on the soccer field as well."