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Why (As A Sports Fanatic) I Can't Get Interested in Soccer


I’m a sports fanatic. I love almost every sport.

I’ve tried to get interested in soccer. I just can’t.

Soccer is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

There’s almost no scoring in soccer. Too many games end 0-0 and 1-0.

Hours can go buy with barely a shot on goal – when no one even comes close to scoring.

I think there’s too much scoring in NBA basketball. But I’d rather have too much scoring than no scoring.

If this sport is ever to catch on in America, soccer needs to make adjustments to make the game more exciting to watch.

Adjustment #1: Dramatically shrink the size of the field.

Make the field about half the size it is now.

This will help increase the action in front of the goal.

Adjustment #2: Increase the size of the goal.

An increase in the width of six inches or so would probably be enough.

Adjustment #3: Put sideboards up around the field so the ball doesn’t go out of bounds so much.

Indoor soccer has this feature. Indoor soccer is much more fun to watch than outdoor soccer.

Passes that carom off the walls make the passing more complicated and interesting, like hockey.

Adjustment #4: Allow hitting in soccer, like in ice hockey and lacrosse.

Soccer need not make all these changes at once.

Try one or two changes at a time and see what happens.

People want to see goals. And people like to see hitting.

The National Football League is constantly tweaking the rules to make the game more exciting.

If the NFL never changed the rules, there would be no scoring because defense always catches up to the offense. Almost all the rule changes favor the offense.

Even the football itself has changed shape over the years to enhance the passing game.

Baseball created more home runs by bringing in the fences. Basketball created more scoring by adding a shot clock. Boxing created more action by making the ring smaller.

But boxing is being overtaken in popularity by martial arts caging fight because there’s a lot more action, a lot more actual fighting.

All other sports that I can think of constantly review and change the rules – to make their sports more exciting to watch.

Why can’t soccer make adjustments?

There is no sport that I can think of that is more boring than soccer.

Even golf is more exciting.

There are tense moments in golf, such as when Phil Mickelson is trying to sink a five-foot putt to win the Masters.

Baseball is slow. But it gets tense when the bases are loaded in a close playoff game if your team is involved. The tension in golf and baseball is created by the situation.

But there are few situations in soccer that create any tension because so much of the action takes place so far from the goal.

Is there strategy in soccer? I assume there is, but I can’t discern it.

It’s obvious there’s strategy in baseball and football. The fans can see it.   The fans can question the strategy.

The fans can boo if the football coach decides not to go for it on fourth down.

Should they pass or should they run?

The fans can question whether it’s the right move for the baseball manager to take the pitcher out of the game.

Should the hitter bunt and try to move the runner over, or should he swing away?

Strategy is a big part of the appeal of football and baseball.

There’s a chess-match aspect to these sports.

There’s a lot of thinking involved.  Should we do this?  Or should we do that?

I’d Watch Soccer If It Were More Like Ice Hockey

I’m not sure there’s a lot of strategy in hockey either.

But hockey is exciting. Hockey is basically the same game as soccer. But it’s fast. It’s on skates. The rink is small compared to a soccer field.

Hockey is mayhem.

There are lots of shots on goal in hockey, lots of action in front of the net. There are fights. Many hockey players have missing teeth. They look cool. They look rugged. They are rugged. The puck is hard as a rock. It caroms off the boards. There is checking in hockey, where the player gets to slam the other player into the boards. You hear a loud thud when that happens.

Hockey is more like a gang fight on skates. The players are carrying a weapon – their hockey stick. Their skates are razor sharp.

Hockey is a truly dangerous game.

Hockey is much more of a man’s sport than soccer. In soccer, the players fall on the ground if they are barely touched. They then writhe around on the field screaming in hopes of drawing a penalty.

When the penalty comes or doesn’t come, that same player who was writhing around on the field crying suddenly jumps to his feet and resumes playing, perfectly healthy.

Hockey players don’t act like this. They would be laughed off their teams as sissies if they did.

In soccer, the clock keeps running during the alleged injury.

So if a team that’s winning by one goal just wants to run out the clock, that team can just fake all kinds of injuries — which often happens.

That sure makes for an exciting game.

And what’s up with the obsession with the hair of certain World Cup soccer stars?

The star player from Portugal (I forget his name) has a completely different hairdo and hair color every game. How much time is this guy spending in the hair salon?

Shouldn’t he be spending that time watching film or practicing?

Something else I’ve noticed.

Recent immigrants to America learn to love NFL football.

There’s a Mexican restaurant that I go to a lot in Chicago that doubles as a sports bar.

Mexico is known for soccer. It’s their national sport.

But at this Chicago Mexican sports bar I go to, the preferred sport there is NFL football.

Mexicans who move to America quickly become NFL football fanatics. So do Asians and Africans who move here.

These recent Mexican immigrants admit to me that American football is a whole lot more fun to watch than soccer.

They also love boxing and caging fighting.

Something else that bugs me about soccer is that it’s a sport that I feel is being forced on me by liberals who hate American football, who hate violent, dangerous sports.

Liberals are doing everything they can to feminize the NFL. There’s Breast Cancer Awareness month when all the NFL players are expected to wear pink. Kick-off returns are being phased out because they are so dangerous. Defensive players can no longer hit the quarterback, for some reason.

Former NFL great Terry Bradshaw suggests putting a skirt on the quarterback so the defensive player understands more clearly who he can’t hit.

During Super Bowl Week, there’s always the obligatory article in The New York Times on how violence against women (husbands beating their wives) rises during Super Bowl week.

Turns out this is a myth – a complete canard.

Violence against women actually seems to decline during Super Bowl week – probably because husbands are wrapped up in the game. The wife beating seems to resume after the Super Bowl is over.

There’s now the obsession with concussions in the NFL – as if concussions never occurred before now.

So now the NFL has banned leading with your head.

If we want to reduce concussions, maybe football should be played without a helmet, like in the old days. That would discourage players from engaging in head-on collisions with each other.

Some liberal writers have proposed banning football, banning boxing, banning caging fighting, banning car racing, banning all these dangerous sports.

But liberals love soccer.

Soccer’s not the least bit dangerous. About the worst injury you see in soccer is a pulled hamstring.

Well there is that guy in the World Cup from Uruguay who keeps biting the opposing players.

What’s up with that guy? And why doesn’t someone break his nose?

Do you remember when liberals tried to force the metric system on Americans?

I feel they are trying to do this to us with soccer.

Liberals told us we needed to adopt the metric system because that’s what the rest of the world uses.

They told us the metric system makes more sense and is easier to understand.

Not sure that’s true.

A foot is about the length of my foot.

Seems pretty straight forward and simple to me.

I have no idea what 2.34 centimeters is.

Is that like a centipede?

I think America’s measuring system is a lot easier.

But liberals continue to try to push the metric system on us, just like they are desperate to get America to love soccer – so we can be just like the rest of the world.

I don’t want to be like the rest of the world.

Frankly, I was also turned off by the big celebration in the media over USA’s soccer victory over Ghana.

Where the heck is Ghana?

I had to look it up on a map. What’s their population? Do they even have enough people in Ghana to field a soccer team?

Apparently they do.

If America is this excited about its World Cup victory over a dinky little country like Ghana, that’s pathetic.

We’re a nation of 320,000,000 people.

Yet we barely beat Ghana — 2-1.

If Wisconsin played Ghana, that would seem to be a more fair contest.

Then we went on to tie Portugal — another dinky country. This was also hailed by the media as great news for the USA.

If this is great news, America really is in decline.

Then Germany defeats USA, you guessed it . . . 1-0.


Here’s something else that’s off-putting.

USA keeps advancing in this World Cup tournament without winning.

We beat Ghana, and that’s it.  We then tied Portugal and lost to Germany. 

Yet we continue to advance in the tourney.

Why aren’t we eliminated?

Maybe that’s another reason liberals love soccer so much.

Nothing is at stake in these games. Your actual performance in the game makes little difference.

Everyone’s a winner. It’s almost impossible to lose at this game.

So no one feels bad.

UPDATE: Belgium defeats Team USA 2-1 to eliminate the US from World Cup competition.

To read more by conservative writer Ben hart go to <> 

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Soccer is a great sport

I grew up playing and watching football, baseball, and basketball. These sports have become unwatchable. They have way too many commercials, timeouts, replays, and standing around. I discovered professional soccer as a teenager. The non stop action, high level of skill, and athleticism had me hooked. My passion for the spot has only grown over the past few years as I have learned more about it. Soccer is getting much more popular in this country. It is experiencing record TV ratings for the World Cup, EPL, Champions League, European Championships, and US National Team games. Major League Soccer has seen its average attendance (over 18,000 per game) grow tremendously over the past ten years. The trajectory for soccer is up in this country.

True Texas conservative and True sports fanatic

I am a Richard Viguerie subscriber, a season ticket holder to multiple sports teams in my city, and a soccer lover. I am a female who plays ice hockey on co-ed teams with my husband, golf every week, and indoor soccer (hey, it is over 90 degrees here, the location air conditioned, and I am over 50). Do I like football? I am the niece of a 15 year NFL pro (his favorite niece). I live in Ron Paul's old district and vote in every Republican primary. At least from Texas we send people like Ted Cruz to DC. If you need a better way to prove my sports or conservative credentials then shoot me an email and we can converse.
I ask you to not allow or even force the millions of soccer fans to the liberals with your disparaging of the sport.
I am no liberal and no fan of the metric system. But seriously, how can you, if you are a true sports fanatic not take a few minutes to gain an understanding of soccer and figure out the sport?
If you are talking about FFPS then yes, it is a liberal joke. Real soccer is different. The US team came out of the World Cup (WC) with 2 broken noses and in both situations the players only came off the field to have cotton shoved up their noses and returned to play for the better part of an hour. Yes some other teams dive but the US is known for their gritty play. And as for not understanding how you can lose and make it to the next round? How about regular season versus the playoffs? To get to the group stage that you are talking about the US had to play in and move on to more challenging playoffs more than once. First the regional group stage to win the right to compete in a playoff called the "hexagonal" where the region's teams play for the right to play in the first round of "playoffs" in the WC to then progress to the ultimate playoffs of the knockout rounds. Why so many playoffs? Over 200 countries are competing to play so it takes a few rounds to whittle down the field. LOADS are at stake in the games, it is very competitive if you actually know what is going on.
In the game against Germany it was like the last game of the regular season where there is less at stake for Germany as they had pretty much sewn up their spot. Ever seen a football team play less than scorching in that situation?
As for strategy, one not so complex strategic thing that you might want to think about: in a game that will last 90 minutes minimum and potentially 120 minutes or more a team is only allowed 3 substitutions regardless of injuries. If you go down a man you play down a man. Plan that strategy.
As an addendum, you may have noticed that your update about the US being eliminated does do a bit of negating of your previous 6 sentences.
If you want to join Ann Coulter in bashing soccer perhaps you might want to join her in her Chris Christie worship. I will go with the Crockett Texas strategy. The World Cup has been the US soccer Alamo but we work to come back to the site in 4 more years and re-fight the battle. As he said "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas"... and support the United States Men's National Team!

Why Soccer Can't be Fixed

This is a great column and you hit on one point that is the key issue but can't be fixed.

There is NO strategy in soccer (yes, that's the original name of the sport). It is a game of tactics.

In football (probably more than any other sport ever conceived) there is a combination of strategy and tactics.

The strategy in football can be quite complex:

  • Who should be fielded from the outset of the game?
  • Is it better to kick or receive at the game open?
  • How many running plays vs. passing and in what order?
  • Where should a receiver (or any other player) be at a given point during the play?

Then tactics come into play:

  • Coaches substitute based on what the other coach fields
  • Quarterbacks have to scramble if the defensive line is overcoming his offensive line
  • What to do during a broken play?
  • What might a receiver have to do on his WAY TO a specific place on the field for a timing pattern?  
  • and so on.

This looping strategy/tactics feature of football is what truly interests Americans. We LOVE strategy but we also like improvisational tactics as a way of achieving larger strategic missions. Soccer is all about improvisation but has no strategy whatsoever. So much so its kind of like listening to "atonal free-form jazz" or watching a Michael Bay movie.

All random action and no direction makes for a snooze fest.  It's interesting that movies like Transformers does well overseas.  The non-stop action set-pieces stuck in the middle of a movie without a plot seems to be something other countries like. Go figure.

So it is with soccer.

The random turn-overs and missed opportunities are a FEATURE not a bug of the game. This free-form nature is what makes it boring. It doesn't really go anywhere. Are the players good? Maybe they are, maybe they aren't  - given that the game is structured so that no one can really excel at it.

Americans like to see precision in their sports teams. The poor-quality ball-handling in soccer would never be sanctioned in our ball-centered sports. Even hockey, which as you say, is similar in structure to soccer, allows players greater precision so the passing is more fun to watch and there are fewer turn-overs than you see constantly with soccer.

At the end of the day, I don't really care about soccer although the rest of the world seems to want to make me care. They embrace the non-strategic, random, error-ridden ball control aspects of soccer. Americans see soccer as a low rent sport without much redeeming value except to appreciate the aerobic endurance that the advanced soccer player has to have.

However, as you say, golf and baseball are far more interesting and yet neither are violent or that action packed.

Soccer not that hard to understand

The notion that Americans just need to "understand" soccer to appreciate it are WAAAY overstating the complexity of this simple little game. Whether its a child playing it or an adult, the structure of the game remains largely unaltered.

Because of the simplicity of the game, it is played all over the world from early ages. I have no problem with that. American children grow out of soccer and move on to more complex and demanding sports. Children in other countries don't.

Soccer is no more mentally demanding than most endurance style sports. Again, not a criticism, just one more reason that Americans find it boring.

Your idea: smaller fields

I like your ideas #2 thru #4 to add action to soccer. However, Indoor/arena sizes are already smaller than soccer fields and indoor soccer hasn't gained the audience. The smaller field is offset by goals which are also smaller than in standard soccer and generally the penalty area is smaller. The pitch is commonly 200' by 85', the regulation size for a hockey rink in North America. Finally, most indoor soccer games are divided into four quarters of 15 minutes each for a total of 60 minutes of play time. This shorter duration doesn't seem sufficent to help attendence either.