July 13, 2011

Why Americans Don't Care About Soccer, And Other Soccer Gripes I Have

Abby Wambach celebrates a goal in the stoppage time of extra time, which would twice have not happened if I was in charge of soccer.
    
     It's that time again.  The World Cup, the rare time when the U.S. gets excited about soccer, only to forget it exists the rest of the year.  There are a lot of theories about why Americans aren't passionate about soccer:  the lack of scoring, the perceived lack of toughness, a lack of advanced stats.  But there's one reason I put above them all, something I call "intermediate goals".
     Basically, "intermediate goals" are something to worry about between scoring.  In football, it's first downs.  In baseball, it's getting a runner on the next base.  I don't like watching soccer because I feel like nothing gets accomplished on 99% of possessions.  The ball gets kicked around, it gets close to one team's goal, and suddenly it's going the other way.  Very unfulfilling.
     Can this be solved?  Probably not.  So chances are we'll never embrace soccer like the rest of the world does.  But we'll be able to cheer 10 times as much!

Other Soccer Gripes:

-Soccer really does need more stats.  Do you know how hard it is to argue who the best defender is using only anecdotal evidence?

-Penalty kicks need to be worth less than normal goals.  They're so easy!

-Dumbest part of soccer:  stoppage time.  Having the ref add an arbitrary amount of time to the end of a game is ridiculous if not unfair.  If you're so worried about preserving time lost due to stoppage of play, just stop the clock when play stops!  We have that technology now, you know.  It would be a lot less confusing.

-Penalty kick shootouts are by far my favorite part of soccer.  Please get to them sooner.  The last thing I want to do after watching 90 minutes of soccer is watch another 30 minutes of soccer.

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