Now that the United States has started to do well at the World Cup and we, as a nation, have perked up and decided to pay attention. I found myself tuning in because I, like many others, have become enthralled with watching the US go from a team that nobody here cares about to being a legitimate contender. While I have enjoyed watching a bit of the tournament, I find myself wishing they would fix a few things in every game. Here are a couple of simple changes to soccer that would make it easier for new fans to jump on board.
Before we even fix the game, we have to deal with the people that you will potentially surround yourself with while you watch. Fans, you’ve got to get over the fact that we call it soccer. Sure, football makes sense as a name for a sport where you only use your feet but guess what, we’ve already got a very popular sport in the US that has that name, so we’re not going to call it futbol just to make you feel better. Guess what? Even Microsoft word tried to correct futbol to football. Get over it. Also, don’t be a dick because I’m not into soccer and then be a dick because I’m trying to get into soccer but I’m not a real fan. You’re making me hate the sport before I even turn it on! Stop being pretentious douchebags. Its just people running a lot, mostly.
Ok, lets jump right into the game. This field is WAY too big. I know these guys are in incredible shape and they can run all day, but when the camera has to be zoomed out so far to see the entire field that I can’t actually tell who’s kicking the ball, I lose interest pretty quickly. Plus, it takes for-damned-ever for them to run from one side of the field to the other and half the time, some guy from the other team just kicks the ball back to the OTHER side of the field and then everybody trots back to that side and we start all over. Cut a 1/3rd of that field immediately. It’ll speed things up.
Speaking of speeding things up, this clock situation is a mess. It just runs for the full 45 minutes per half without stopping, even when a guy gets straight kicked in the mouth or both teams decide to take a water break (THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.) This leads to something called “stoppage time” which is a random amount of time around 2 to 5 minutes that a referee thinks was wasted during the game that they just tack on at the end of each half. Here’s an easy fix. STOP THE CLOCK. I’m not saying stop the clock whenever anything happens, that could interrupt the flow of the game but there are a few legitimate reasons that will stop this weird random time issue. DO: stop the clock when someone needs to leave via a stretcher. DON’T: stop the clock every time a guy flops to the ground, clutching his nipple and screaming like he’s being murdered.
This leads me to my next point: stop the flops. Watching one week’s worth of soccer has taught me that the most athletic, handsome, indestructible looking men can be brought to their knees simply by rubbing up against another mans jersey. These “flops” or faking an injury for no good goddamned reason, are supposed to mess with the opponents flow and attempt to screw with the amount of time left in a game (see problem 3.) Grown men graze another man on the field and throw themselves to the ground, clutching their faces as if they had just seen the Ark of the Covenant. STOP IT. Refs should immediately throw up a card (yellow as a warning, red to get the hell out of the game) every time a guy fakes an injury. The ref missed the fake out and can’t punish them in the game? Well, institute a post-game flop replay and doll out punishments and changes then. Boom, problem solved and the game moves on.
The draw has to go. No ties allowed, folks. This is the single dumbest rule in the entire game. Did I just sit through 90+ minutes to watch two of the world’s best teams finish at 0-0? NO THANKS. We’ve all seen The Mighty Ducks, right? Lets get a shootout happening! That shit is intense! I’ve heard this happens later in the World Cup, but I don’t care. We’re talking ALL of soccer. Get rid of ties. How is this even debatable?
Now, I have other ideas to make the game more exciting (add foam pillars that shoot from the field randomly which players have to avoid as they run at top speed around the new, minimized field, for example) but I’ll wait to introduce them until these simple issues I’ve mentioned have been addressed. And finally, are you a huge futbol fan who’s salivating, just waiting to explain to me why all of these things have a very specific purpose in the game and therefore are invalid. Go back to the top of this article, for a moment. Congrats! You’re the #1 reason why I don’t watch this sport. USA! USA! USA!