But for Barnsley’s new chief executive officer Dane Murphy, it always meant playing with a round object and had nothing to do with gridiron.
As the Oakwell faithful may opine, it represents a sound start to his association with the Reds.
Involvement in the completion of a key incoming transfer deal in his first week at the club, in the shape of Coventry City forward Conor Chaplin, represents a further positive – and rather more pertinent – development.
In the modern world, football is the global game and Connecticut-born Murphy, 33, an ex-Major League Soccer player with DC United and New York Cosmos, has always kept abreast with developments from the cradle of the game in England.
Admitting his skills were never enough to earn a move here in his playing career, Murphy has perhaps secured the next best thing.
Murphy, with a background in recruitment in his post playing days – he previously worked as technical director at DC and Real Salt Lake and was head scout with the Cosmos – said: “People say it is a dream to play for England if you are from the States. But I cannot say that I realistically thought I ever would.
“The closest I got was with the Cosmos when we played in Paul Scholes’s testimonial. It was a little bit above my level. To be honest, I was not that good, I just ran around and kicked people and could run!
“I came from an area which is kind of a footballing hotbed. My parents are both from New York and I grew up in Connecticut and a lot of the successful coaches that have come through the system have come from the area.
“I was lucky enough that my dad was an American football player growing up who fell in love with football as he got older. He pushed me and my brother and sister towards the sport in an area where interest was exploding in the late 80s and early 90s. It was the right place at the right time.
“In the States, if you are a football fan, you watch the Premier League before the MLS. People back home will not thank me for saying it, but it is the truth.
“You watch English football and the Bundesliga, but mainly the Premier League. You schedule your weekend around English football if you are a football fan in the US.
“I never followed a specific team, but my father always supported AC Milan and it was a bit of a family team growing up.
“I never chose an English team, but now I have one in Barnsley and that’s the only team that matters.”
In situ in his new post, the immediate priority of Murphy, 33 –who will reside in his new home in Barnsley with fiancée Melissa – is on the club’s transfer business ahead of the August 8 deadline.
His Reds research has been considerable, while his professional contacts base in England has helped broaden his knowledge of the game in this country, both in terms of matters on the pitch and administration.
He is also well versed on the successful periods of footballing history at Oakwell and being involved in a further rewarding chapter is something that holds obvious appeal.
Murphy continued: “I have been brought up to speed with the history and rich tradition at this club, especially in the Championship.
“I have built my knowledge base and have watched nearly all the games in the second half of last season and the videos online.
“We want to bring in young players who have a value who we can grow – but most importantly help the team be successful.
“We have got ourselves in the Championship and at some point, hopefully in the near future, we can push for promotion.”
As someone whose playing career took him to Germany where he played for VFL Osnabrück for a spell, Murphy’s contacts base there is extensive and represents a potential fertile area for the Reds, moreso given the presence of Daniel Stendel as head coach.
The vibes between chief executive and head coach – a vital line of communication at any club – are already good, according to Murphy, who is confident that the pair will forge a strong working relationship.
Murphy said: “I have networks from playing in Germany and know coaches, players and agents. It is a market where players seem to do well and can adapt wherever they go. Having Daniel steering the ship makes sense. It is a market we hope to tap into.
“Daniel is well known as a passionate, enthusiastic, positive guy and I heard nothing but good things before meeting him. Having met him, it was the truth.
“The guy is top-class and has been brilliant to work with in my first few days and I am sure we will continue to work well.”