posted by Joe Anaya on June 30th, 2014

I have World Cup Fever. I admit it freely. I even bought a Mexico jersey. But being a kid who did not grow up loving or even playing soccer, there are things I see that could improve the game.

The most obvious thing to do is increase scoring. 0-1 is a common score, but it’d be a lot more exciting if it were 3-4. Admittedly, I’ve seen how rule changes to increase scoring have damaged NFL football and basketball, so while I have lots of ideas (like shorten the field, turning everything past midfield into a scoring threat), I will leave this alone.

However if they did increase scoring, they’d probably have fewer ties which would eliminate the shoot-out as a tie breaker. This form of tie breaking is like deciding an NBA game by having a free-throw contest. For 90 plus minutes (I’ll get to the “plus” later), teams go back and forth playing a sport, then suddenly for the win, they go into a practice drill. Score more often and you’d have fewer ties. Increase scoring and you could even have overtime with the high probability of scoring and finishing the game.

The most heinous thing wrong with soccer is all the wailing and gnashing of teeth. The incessant diving/flopping and begging for a foul makes former NBA center Vlade Divac look like a Stoic. I haven’t seen so many hands held upward begging for intervention since a community version of Godspell. But let’s face it, with only one ref on the field, you have to make a big show to ensure the ref sees the would-be foul. The solution is simple: add more referees. The NBA has 3 refs covering 1/12 the size of play space. More refs; less flopping; better play.

What is it with the bonus time? I actually heard the announcer utter the phrase, “5 minutes to go, then whatever the referee wants to add on.” What kind of sport doesn’t let the teams know how much time is left? How does a coach or player manage the clock if they don’t know what’s on the clock? And why isn’t there bonus time for the bonus period? Seriously, the whole concept is just weird. In this day and age, it’d be simple enough to give the ref a clicker which allowed him to stop and start the game clock when necessary. Then when the clock read 00:00 the game would be over. Simple.

This last one is a minor quibble. But since I’m on a roll. Why aren’t the goalie uniforms coordinated with the rest of the team? I get that they need to be easily distinguished from the field players but if the USA is in their white jerseys with blue and red trim, why can’t the goalie be in a red uniform with blue and white trim. Neon green with black trim makes no sense to me. And I’m sure there’s a 90 year-old general out there who could explain how different uniforms “hurt unit cohesion.” The goalie can be different and still be from the same color planet.

So there you have it. Random thoughts on how to make soccer better. As I said, I don’t follow soccer except every 4 years, so take my ideas for what they’re worth and enjoy the games.

File Under Weekend Warrior