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World Cup "Action"
Monday, 2006 July 10 - 8:52 pm
So yeah, I saw a little bit of the World Cup final.

Now, maybe I'm just an unfrozen caveman sports fan, but I simply don't understand the appeal of soccer.

I can come up of a litany of complaints about soccer, and French people head-butting Italians isn't even among the top ten. At the risk of getting hate mail from the tens of soccer fans across this U.S., here are my top three problems with soccer:

1. It's boring. And not a little bit boring, I mean a lot boring. There's really very little excitement other than the goal scoring... and a goal is scored only about once every three years. I could watch an entire American football game between one soccer goal and the next.

2. It's random. You'll see a team is flying up the field on a full attack... and five seconds later, the ball is headed back the other way. There's no sense of tactical build-up, no progression. It's just back and forth, like tennis. Only if this were tennis, it'd be a single rally that lasted three hours long, and one point would determine the entire match.

3. It's melodramatic. There's all that ridiculous diving to the ground and writhing in pain. If that many professional players were suffering shin injuries that were that severe, why wouldn't they start wearing better shin guards? Oh, wait, the injury must not have been that bad, because the players are up and hopping around again ten seconds later. After a yellow card has been issued.

We need to exert our globalization influence and Americanize soccer. Here are the top three changes I'd make:

1. Get rid of the offsides penalty. Let players sneak down the field for breakaway goal attempts. Do we really need a rule that reduces goal scoring opportunities?

2. Restrict how many players can be on the defensive side of the field... to maybe 5. But let teams gamble by sending all 11 players on the attack, if they're willing to leave their own half of the field undefended.

3. Make the free kick more interesting. If there's a free kick and the defending team makes a human wall to block the goal, give the kicking team a half point if they can knock down one of the players in the wall.

Or, like David Letterman says: let 'em use their damn hands.
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Posted by Ken in: sports


Comment #1 from olafandy (Guest)
2006 Jul 11 - 8:46 am : #
Hear hear!

Actually, #2 I don't mind, but I agree with you on 1 and 3 strongly. Plus, I just don't agree with a championship game being decided on a shootout. I can understand preliminary games, even semi-finals using a shootout just in terms of scheduling. But the final game should be for all the marbles. Keep playing until someone drops, which inevitably opens up the opportunity for someone to put it away.
Comment #2 from Dan (Guest)
2006 Jul 12 - 1:13 pm : #
For years, I honestly tried to become a soccer fan. I felt that if I could love hockey (low scoring) and baseball (low scoring and slow paced), I should be able to love soccer too. I also had a real curiosity to try to figure out what more than a billion soccer fans were seeing but I was somehow missing.

After nearly a decade, I'm finally giving up. I'm willing to admit that I'll never get it and I'll never like it. And that's OK.

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