Fixing Soccer

While our nation seems to succumb to just about every global influence and convention that comes down the pike, we have somehow managed to remain steadfast in our general disinterest in the sport of soccer.  Every year, be it an Olympic year or a men’s or women’s World Cup year, I hear that this will be the year that soccer with take root in America, and we will be swept up in its pageantry.  And every year I laugh.  I laugh the laugh of someone who 30-some years ago was told that I needed to learn the metric system, because everything would be converted by the end of the year.  And with the exception of 2-liter bottles of soda, and the drug dealers, America stood her ground.  Sure, Canada bit on the metric system, but even they never really went all in with soccer.

But I am not here to tear soccer down, but rather to build it up.  While the sport of soccer has enjoyed its run as pastime of 2nd and 3rd world countries, I offer some humble tips to make it more appealing to an American audience.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When I say American audience, I am not referring to those among us who secretly rooted for Japan in the Women’s World Cup Finals because that country has been through so much strife lately and a win for them would be nice; nor am I talking about the guy who wrote, “bicycles should just be everywhere, and when we need to go somewhere, we should just take one then leave it for the next person,” on the Starbucks suggestion wall.

  • Turn The Clock Around – Americans cannot and will not get excited about a game where the time is counted upwards.  We are a people of deadlines, and we hate math.  We certainly don’t want to do any ciphering to figure out how much time is left in a game.
  • End The Game On Time – When the game is over, it’s over.  Please stop tacking on random amounts of time at the end of a game.  First and foremost it makes the game very difficult to bet on with any confidence.
  • Make The Field Smaller – I’m not talking Arena Football smaller, but let’s face it, there just aren’t enough lines on the field, and it is very boring for us to watch the camera sweep across giant expanses of uninterrupted green.
  • Let The Players Use Their Hands – I assume most professional soccer players have hands.  Let them use them.  It is very un-American to put yourself at a willing disadvantage.  Use what you got, baby.
  • No Chants or “Waves”- We Americans have always been a society of rugged individualists (with a few hundred million followers thrown in for good measure), and we don’t do things in unison.  Except for that weird chant they do in Denver when Troy Tulowitzki comes to the plate.  And “The Wave” caught on for a while here, but look where it started – Seattle, the same place that gave us Starbucks.

With the Women’s World Cup wrapping up, and much being made of it ending on a shootout or penalty kick situation, I offer one last suggestion.  Either settle tie games with a sudden death overtime, or just make the whole game a shootout, and do away with all of the unnecessary 90 minutes of running.  Hell we all know that both teams will most likely be tied at the end of regulation anyway.

FYI, I’m not too thrilled with the changes to the NFL overtime either.

I’ve attached a couple videos below that sort of illustrate my points and demonstrate what soccer would be like if it were just more “American.”

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