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Top 5 Changes That Would Make Soccer “America’s Game”

Joey Boats

As I’m writing this, it’s Sunday and the Red Sox bullpen just chalked up their seventeenth blown save of the year. More importantly though, it marks the first blown save ever recorded on European soil. I guess the MLB’s making a push towards globalization, and although the reception’s been great, I can’t help feeling that these people don’t really give a shit.

It’s similar to the United States with soccer. We’ll get off our asses and flood a few bars during the World Cup, but when push comes to shove, most of us won’t lose any sleep if the women get stomped out by England this Tuesday. That said, hope is on the horizon…

What makes America so great is that we take things and make them better: We took England and created “New England,” we took the internationally observed thermometric scale and created “Fahrenheit”, and we took fútbol and created “football.”

The only problem with that last one is that football—although objectively better in every conceivable way—is technically just a different sport; however, that’s where I come in…

After considerable thought, here are the top five things I’d change to make soccer great again:

1.) Abolish the Offside Rule: I absolutely hate that practically every scoring opportunity is axed because some dude was a pinworm’s length closer to the opponent’s goal line. Obviously it would change the entire dynamic of the sport but I don’t care if people are cherry-picking; and in fact, that’s what I want. The more chaos the better. Not to mention, you could start seeing some top level man-to-man matchups between premier forwards and “shutdown defenders”—guys whose assignment is literally just to shadow the opponent’s striker.

2.) Grant North Korea an At-Large Bid: Simply put, people love drama. There’s a reason why the Red Sox/Yankees were chosen for the London Series, there’s a reason why the 1994 Women’s Figure Skating Final is still one of the most-watched sporting events in US history, and there’s a reason why a United States/North Korea showdown in the group stage would ignite interest. Ever since the US occupied Japan following WWII, all North Korea’s done is talk shit from across the pond. In other words, we need to shut them up, and what better way to do that than to beat the living shit out of them on an international stage in a sport our country hasn’t played since grade school?

3.) Replace All Referees With Combat Veterans: I think I speak for most Americans when I say flopping is the worst aspect of soccer. You seemingly can’t sneeze within twenty yards of a player without that player dropping to the ground as if they got picked off by a sniper. Soccer enthusiasts often classify it as part of the game, but with all due respect, that part of the game sucks and I’d eradicate it by instating combat veterans as officials. Why? Because shame is a powerful thing and combat veterans are one of the few demographics of people you can’t be a complete pussy around. In other words, it’s incredibly difficult to hit the deck in a fit of theatrical pain when the guy who saw it has also seen boot camp and three tours’ worth of near-death experience.

4.) Allow Goalies to Check Inside the Penalty Area: One thing I’ve learned through my limited viewership of soccer is that keepers are complete lunatics. Regardless of what’s happening in the game, they’re always the most entertaining people to watch during broadcast cutaway shots. That said, they should be allowed to blow up offensive players like in hockey. Think of it like plays at the plate in baseball; if you breach the restricted area, you’re officially on the menu. Corner kicks would be fucking electric.

5.) Get Better at Playing the Sport: This one’s pretty self-explanatory. I understand the US Women’s team is an absolute wagon, but it’s tough for America to fully invest itself until our men’s team can get their heads out of their ass. Like, I understand soccer isn’t incredibly popular here, but we also have the fucking THIRD highest population in the world. Trinidad and Tobago—the glorified tourist destination that prevented us from qualifying two years ago—is the size of Delaware! That country discovered electricity last week for God’s sake! You’re telling me we can’t beat THOSE GUYS!?! Clean it up, dude…

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