I am not a soccer (football) fan. Never really have been. I think I played it when I was six. I retired early. It is like the fifteenth most popular sport in my city, competing with the likes of Badminton. While I admit it has more play than cricket it really has no traction. It isn’t that I don’t want it to be popular, far from it. I wish we had a better support of this sport, and others, in my area. I wish more than a small cult following loved the sport passionately. A pro team here would be cool. But it just isn’t that way.
It is with that sentiment in mind, I tuned into the world cup. Once every four years I pretend to enjoy the sport. Well I do enjoy the month of story lines on the radio and excitement in an otherwise dull time of year for sports. This year However I realized, this game is just darn hard to watch. In 94 an 11 year old me loved the Brazilians, even Zidane’s head butt is memorable. But this year I was struck with how incredibly bored I was. While true soccer fans roared, I stood wonder why.
So my uneducated soccer mind has come up with the following list:
1. STOP THE DIVING, AND WHINING!!!!!!!
Really doesn’t need much of an explanation does it? If they were awarded points for acting and rolling on the ground, scores would be in the hundreds. I watched an early game from a hotel lounge. I was able to tweet every two minutes about an injury. (shameless plug @VandykBrandon). The over the top antics drove me away in the round robin, I just followed the score after watching a couple games of that crap. Start carding players regularly who embellish, whine or just don’t get up. Your leg cramps? Don’t send the medics out, get up and walk off the damn field.
2. More Liberal Offside Calls
I get the point of offside, but could we create a 45′ line or something that would be an area where offside wasn’t applicable. I realize this is a long rule. Traditionalists will not like it. But hear me out. I am a hockey guy, and when they wanted to eliminate the two line pass I was against it. Truth is I love the game with the added speed, great rule change. Some still complain but they are just being stubborn. Touch icing removed, great, speed up game. I am not saying Messi should be allowed to stand behind the last line all game for breaks but inside a certain area can we relax the rule. I am talking a quarter of the field max. Adds to opportunities. I have to think even some current soccer fans would enjoy.
3. Add another official on field
Seems to me a lot of calls are made incorrectly because of positioning. If you add one on field official, one below the play and one above it, it is likely they will get more calls right. To often they are going off reaction of players or just the fact a guy fell. There are calls made on guys who stubbed their toes in the grass.
4. Brag About The Cool Stuff!
Alright the first cool stuff part of soccer I have ever heard ball (ABC News stores). While this is awesome, there has to be more cool science in the equipment of this sport. Soccer boots, goalie gloves and jerseys. Get this stuff out to people as often as you can. Baseball refuses to advance in technologies, but soccer obviously spends a lot of time on things like its ball. They should advertise being on the cutting edge.
5. Don’t Just Brand Individuals!
In North America, sports stories aren’t about the kings. Beckham doesn’t get a disney special. We want Remember the Titans, We Are Marshall and Miracle. All these fabulous underdog stories, that is what captures a nation. It is cooler to hate the Yankees and other front runners than it is to cheer them on. Soccer is all about branding it’s individuals, but it means you lose some fans as the age out. Rinaldo, Rooney, Beckham and Messi. All these players I know, not sure which team they play for at most times. Nobody knows about the teams, there is Manchester United, I believe they are the team everyone wants to play for. A local guy played for FC Bayern, before he went to United, so that is two teams. If I didn’t own FIFA 14 for my XBOX, I wouldn’t know any more. Scary. Sell me the teams, let me build generations for Toronto FC supporters or PSV supporters in my family. Maple Leafs’ tickets are willed to the next generation. Make the teams bigger than the players. It is a global game so let us globally know all the teams!
6. Win the Right to Be Called Football!
It is really confusing that the sports broadcasters call it football during the world cup and soccer the other 3 years. Look lets face it, American football isn’t really football at all. In fact kicking the ball is a punishment, kickers are ridiculed endlessly as not true parts of the team. Soccer however is a true football sport. While these sportscasters are calling it football for the World Cup keep them going in this direction! Down with the word Soccer.
My 5 ways to help me watch more soccer games, plus one thing that just drives me nuts. What do some other people think?