I kinda like soccer.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like baseball, basketball, football (the real one), and hockey more, but that doesn't mean I can't like soccer.
My younger brothers once made a video where they went back in time and destroyed the person who invented soccer, as a way to make the world a better place. I think attitudes like that come from being told that you're some sort of two bit yokel if you don't like soccer from the enlightened. Being told that if you don't like soccer, it's your fault because you don't get the game, the beauty, the creativity and all that garbage.
This is my thing, if you don't like something that I do, I'm not going to get offended, unless it's drinking Egg Nog. Seriously, that would be outrageous.
There are, however, several things that I would do to change soccer to make it a better sport.
I always tell my latino students that to make it a better sport, they should put the goal about ten feet in the air, and should let players use their hands. Players should be able to carry the ball past a line to score points. The ball should be oblong shaped and brown... it's about this point that they figure out that I'm talking about football (the real one). Some of my students are quite slow.
Top things to change about soccer
- Offside. It's stupid to have a rule that is so complicated that the referees can't even figure it out. If you must have offside as a rule, then draw a line like hockey. I'd prefer to not have an offside, at all.
- Extreme penalties. While the penalty kick should be used in some extreme situations where a goal was almost certain (like a DOGSO), I don't think it should be used for less egregious fouls in the box. PKs are almost always converted. In basketball, that's like awarding a free layup for a foul that's worth 50 points.
- Extreme penalties part 2. Red cards signify the ejection of a player for a dangerous play. When a player gets a red card, not only does the player get ejected for that game and the next, but the team has to play down a man. Such a harsh penalty only encourages refs to give yellows or no fouls than calling the penalty as it should have been. If you want to keep it as part of the game, have the offending team play down a man for 5 or 10 minutes or something.
- Substitutions. Most high level leagues allow only 3 substitutions per game. I think this makes the play much worse than it could be toward the end of the game when players are absolutely gassed. I hate it when people say that a team's "fitness" is the reason why there are so few subs. If I wanted to see "fitness", I'd go watch people run a half marathon. I think all 18 players should be eligible to sub in at any time, and they should just go with the baseball rule that once you're subbed out, you're done.
- Timing. OK, I get it, you play an old sport, so old that referees back in the day ended each half after counting to 2,700. The thing is, we have scoreboards now, and people like to have a good idea of when the game ends. Putting it in the hands of the ref leads to people thinking the ref was corrupt if there was a late goal or if he ended it early. RSL two years ago lost home field advantage to Kansas City after conceding a goal 7 minutes into added time when the ref said it would only go 5. That's a bit of a problem.
- Referee. Why is there only one ref on a field that is larger than a football (the real one) field? How can he or she possibly be in the best position to see every play and adjudicate fairly? Put more refs on the field that can make calls.
- Faking. Soccer has been known to give a bigger penalty if someone is hurt. This leads to faking by players. Years ago, they used to bring out this magic spray so the player could pretend to be miraculously healed. Penalties should not be given based on if someone is hurt or not and injured players should be required to sit out for a specified time or be replaced. Yes, I know they fake in the NBA. Yes, that makes me mad too.
- Ties. No ties, ever. This should be obvious.
- Overtime. Yes, I know soccer snobs call it extra time, but I can't bring myself to call it that. I think overtime should end on the first goal and that the overtime period should start with 10 players a side. After 5 minutes you each team takes off one player. 15 minutes into overtime, that player is the goal keeper, and nobody can use hands. Players that have been subbed in for are allowed to come in one more time. The period lasts 20 minutes or until a goal is scored. If no goal is scored, you go to the shootout.