well i actually think you can make the argument that a good center fielder in baseball could be comparable athletically to soccer players (you need to have a lot of range) I'd say speed in soccer is very important though. I mean do you think a guy like theo walcott would be anywhere near the epl if he was slow?? on the flipside though, speed is an asset but isn't everything. If you have deficient technical ability and poor touch, you become a very limited player. I think a good US example would be robbie findley. The dude is really fast, but that dude couldn't score on the easiest of opportunities. It's kind of like in american football when you have a receiver who's really fast but has either poor hands, poor route running ability, or when he's running an option route lacks the ability to pick the correct route based on the coverage. Essentially the player gets relegated to nothing more than a deep threat at best. Same goes with the CB position, i mean ahmad carroll was really fast, and that dude was a horrible cornerback (im a packers fan so yeah i saw it first hand). WR Troy Williamson was as speedy as they come. But that dude couldn't catch a cold let alone a ball, and his route running was pretty terrible.