Thursday, June 26, 2008

How To Improve Soccer

For those of you not into soccer, there is a huge soccer tournament going on in Europe: Euro 2008. Today, Russia faces Spain with the winner to face Germany in the finals. My son, Andrew, enjoys it, and roots for Team Italy. Unfortunately, the Italians have bowed out already.

I've tried watching soccer, but I have trouble getting into it. It just seems to go back and forth without a lot getting accomplished, often ending in a low scoring tie, even zero-zero. And then they go into those sudden death kicks when the game can't be settled in regulation.

What really gets me, though, is the fact that a game can have its lone score created by a referee. When you get to international level, games seem to be decided by a difference of one point.,,and that one point is many times a penalty kick. Ref makes a call, good or bad, a team receives a penalty kick, and that is the difference in the game. Sometimes, it's the only score. And soccer doesn't distinguish between goals scored during the game and goals scored on penalty kicks.

In my opinion, soccer could improve itself and make games more exciting if it could adopt one change: goals scored during action should count for two points, not one. Leave the penalty kicks at one. However, if you have goals counting two, it leaves open the possibility of a game changing score at the end.

And for goals scored from 30 yards or more out, those should count for three points. I remember when USA played Germany in the quarterfinals. America lost 1-0. Germany had a great goalkeeper. However, there was one point during the game where he stopped a score, then walked about ten yards out and tossed the ball another 30 yards down the field. American scorer Alex Lalas (I think that was his name) intercepted the throw at about 35-40 yards and made an accurate kick back towards the German goal. The German goalie looked scared, rushing back to deflect the kick. He barely made it, knocking away what would have been an embarrassing and devastating goal.

What are your thoughts? I think these are good ideas. I suggested these once to a former British co-worker of mine, a soccer fanatic that takes time off to watch tournaments like these, and was told what I could do with my suggestions.

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