Kobe headed for soccer action over the weekend

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will return to athletic competition Sunday.

He’s trading his sneakers for a pair of soccer cleats as he performs at the at Kastles Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Bryant knows a little bit about soccer after playing during his childhood in Italy, when his father was playing in Europe.

And Bryant told CNN.com that he’s always , even after returning to the United States.

“AC Milan was always my favorite team growing up,” he said. “It actually started in Italy when I used to go to the basketball courts to play by myself and you used to have the little goalposts underneath the basket.

“I’d show up wanting to play basketball and there would be 12 kids waiting to have a match.

“They just put me in goal because I had these long arms and long legs, and I just had to stop everything that came my way.

“Then as months went on, they finally let me out on the field a little bit.”

Four members of the United States Women’s National Soccer team will be there as well. It’s for a good cause as it benefits the Mia Hamm Foundation and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

And it will be as interesting if Bryant is as fierce a competitor in a pickup soccer game as he is on the basketball court.

Here’s another piece of news about Bryant, courtesy of the Orange County Register.

Derek Fisher, Bryant’s backcourt mate with the Los Angeles Lakers,  played with Bryant in an exhibition game in the Phillipines earlier this month.

Fisher said Bryant’s ailing right knee . 

“He’s telling me — and I saw for myself — that his knee is the best it’s been in a long time,” Fisher told the Register.

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