My Non-Epic Soccer Post


1. Ann Coulter‘s recent column declaring American interest in soccer to be a sign of American moral decay is inane.

2. Claims that soccer is somehow a purer expression of sport than any other are equally inane.

3. It is true that there are too few scoring opportunities in soccer for present American tastes. What this means is best summed up by some ancient Roman wisdom: “De gustibus non est disputandum“.

4. Current World-Cup rules, like no overtime in the 1st round, create a lot of ties. This is not a fundamental problem with soccer — the NHL has over the years tinkered with its rules in order to limit the number of ties — but for any sporting endeavor, a high likelihood of ties can create competitive issues on the field and dampen the interest of spectators.

5. Two of the previous five World Cup final-matches have been determined by penalty kicks, which is a dud of a way to end the world’s best tournament in a sport. Especially in a world-class championship showcase, as many games as possible should be played until a winner is determined under normal rules.  IMHO, loosening up soccer’s substitution rules would be a reasonable way to allow more big matches to be determined by actually playing soccer until one team wins, without changing anything fundamental about the sport.

6. Go USA.

  • Russ

    "Two of the previous five World Cup final-matches have been determined by penalty kicks, which is a dud of a way to end the world’s best tournament in a sport."

    And I'd say it's among the most exciting ways. Does anyone really think baseball is more exciting than it would otherwise be because games can go on and on for hours? Give me a shootout any day.

  • _Andrew_

    Well, if penalty kicks really are the most exciting part of soccer, let's just get rid of the first 120 minutes that precedes them, and go right to a penalty kicks tournament. First team to make 50 wins.

    Seriously, I like the NHL model: Shootouts in the regular season, play until there's a winner in the playoffs.

    • Russ

      That's not what I said. I said it's among the most exciting ways to end a game (vs. playing on and on).

    • Russ

      Ties are big part of the game in regular season matches. Consider how difficult it is in soccer to win on the road. I've always found it surprising that it makes such a difference for most teams. Eliminating the away draw would change the game and for the worse, imho (why even start your top players if the end result is very likely a loss anyway).

  • justinkatz

    I've been thinking that one of the big turn-offs for Americans is probably the incentive to fall down and play hurt. Americans want tough guys taking everything that's thrown at them, not thespians trying to get free kicks.

    • Russ

      I'm with you on that one. Hard to remove that entirely though.

      • Max D.

        Agree. Both the NHL and NBA have tried addressing flopping with at best mediocre results. The Montreal Canadiens have turned it into an art form.

  • Guest

    How so?

  • Patrick

    My solution to end flopping: Put a referee in the press box who watches for flopping on video. He can rewind, watch any angle he wants. He sees any embellishment or "flop", he gives the player a yellow card by posting it on the scoreboard and notifying the on-field referee. He has five minutes from the time of the infraction to issue the card or it's dropped.
    Also, no PK should be taken because of a flop. That Netherlands one in the box was ridiculous.