Following another crushing defeat for a US national soccer team, this time in the Women’s World Cup, many fans are no doubt feeling burned. It seems like every time we start to care about soccer, it spits directly into our collective face, while handing us another devastating loss. So, in the spirit of sour grapes and being a true Ugly American, I present my four-point plan to fix soccer.
Point #1: The Clock
If I really get going on this rant, we may not even make it to the other three points, so I’ll try to keep it short. We’re going to have a clock. It’s going to have the ability to stop and start again. Thanks to the breakthrough concept of “stopping the clock”, there will be no more slow substitutions to waste time, no more bullshit “stoppage time”, and no more nebulous endings where no one knows when the final whistle will blow. This is the twenty-first century with the game being played at the highest levels. We can afford the $9.99 needed to give the referee a goddamned stopwatch.
Point #2: Bigger Nets
You know what people love? Goals. They love scoring goals, they love seeing goals, and they love it when a Spanish announcer shouts “GOOOOOOOOOOOAL!”. Conversely, do you know what’s awful? As Sports Night’s Dan Rydell put it, “the sheer pointlessness of a zero-zero tie.” In fact, it was Rydell’s modest proposal which inspired this point. Bigger nets will mean more goals, and that’s going to make everyone but a few goalkeepers happy. Maybe we’ll listen to their input when they can match their outfits with the rest of the team.
Point #3: No Faking, No Whining, Shut Up and Play
This is far less of a problem in the women’s game, but soccer as a whole is full of fakers and hams, working to squeeze a penalty out of the referee. No more. If you go down with an injury, you’ll have to go out of the game, at least temporarily. If you whine for a penalty, you go to the penalty box. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yes, there’s going to be a penalty box. We’ll suss out the specifics later, but there’re going to be more odd-man rushes, and more goals. Once again, people love goals.
Point #4: Play Until Somebody Wins
Baseball doesn’t switch to a home run derby after the 12th inning. Basketball doesn’t switch to a game of H-O-R-S-E after the second OT. So from now on, we’re not deciding which team is the best in the world through what are effectively coin flips. I never again want to hear an announcer tell me a goalie “guessed the wrong way”. If the score’s still tied, you keep playing. You’re tired? Suck. it. up. You play to win, so shouldn’t you keep playing until somebody actually does?
There. Four simple steps and soccer1 is fixed. You’re welcome, world.
Oh, yeah, we’re all calling it soccer now. You can call it whatever you want in your crazy gibberish language, but in English, we’re settling on “soccer”. ↩