The world cup has reminded me how much I really like soccer, or as the rest of the world calls it, futbol!!! The athleticism, intelligence and creativity required to succeed elevate it to an elegance few sports can match. Every four years we americans wonder if it’s about to take off here too. Then we’re reminded of some of the rules ridiculous rules that would be ridiculed mercilessly in other sports.
Here are a few humble suggestions to help improve things:
No More Penalty Kick Shootouts
Can you imagine if a hitter in baseball had the opportunity to hit from a tee? Or if an American football game was decided by field goals? It’s ludicrous.
The penalty shootout is inherently flawed because it makes soccer no longer a team sport. It removes most of what makes the sport beautiful: teamwork, creativity, strategy (deking the goalie is a tactic, not a strategy).
As an alternative I propose some rule changes that maintain the integrity of the game:
- Disallow hand use by goalies after 90 minutes
- Create an “orange card.” Any player that commits a foul in overtime is immediately removed from the game.
- Eliminate throw-ins. They just waste time and encourage momentum killing tactics.
- Reinstate the “Golden Goal” rule so that the first goal ends the game.
Disallow “Running Out The Clock”
Too many sports allow this. Clock rules encourage idling and inaction. It’s bullshit that you can short cut the game. Baseball and tennis force you to give the other man his fair chance; you have to put the ball in play. The victory those sports is complete.
Football and basketball solve this problem with “shot clocks”. Soccer should have the same:
- You must move the ball inside the 17y box within 2’
- Moving the ball back into your half is a penalty (or it could be retreating twice in a row).
Why Add-on Time?
I simply don’t understand why we don’t know what the official time of game is. There’s no good reason in this day and age that the referee on the field is the only person who has the official time. The current solution of add-on time is a hack. Ask the NFL how they do it and just put up a single official clock.