Why Americans Don’t Love Soccer

Soccer is the favorite sport for a measly 2% of Americans – despite the fact that soccer is by far the most popular sport globally. Why?

To start, sports are entertainment, and cultural values drive entertainment preferences. And at the heart of American cultural values is an exceptionally strong sense, and deep love for, the concept of justice.

The “American Dream” is a story about justice. Those who are honest, hard-working, and persevere get what they deserve. They get success. Upward mobility is justice.

In sports, Americans want to optimize for justice. We want the team who won to have earned it – they played harder, they had more talent, they played more as a team, they were more clutch. The best team doesn’t always have to win, but they have to deserve their victory.

Which brings me to soccer…

Soccer is where sports justice goes to die.

Some examples:

1) One goal makes a huge difference in soccer where the average World Cup game has 2.86 total goals, and referees can play an enormous role in the scoring of a goal. A missed offsides call. A bad call in the penalty box resulting in a penalty shot (7.4% of all World Cup goals). A red card given for a minor infraction that tilts the odds. There is a tremendous incentive for players to shamelessly cheat. Goals are sometimes not deserved and feel completely divorced from justice.

2) Regular season and pool-play games can end in a draw. Therefore, one team may not be incentivized to win the game, and thus the terms of the contest are not equal (one team trying to win, another team being happy with a draw). And ultimately when there is a draw, there is no winner. We do not find out which team is better, and there is no justice.

3) Knockout games can end in a shootout. A team can win a game merely by fighting to a draw, and then being better at penalty kicks. The World Cup can be decided, not by soccer played on the field, not determining which team is the fittest and has the strongest will, but by the team who is better at one specific skill. There is no justice.

4) A team can absolutely dominate a game…and still lose. See: USA 2, Ghana 1. It’s fun when your team that pulls off an absurdly lucky, miracle victory, but I cannot imagine how much it must have sucked to be a Ghana fan yesterday.

If soccer is going to ever succeed in mainstream America (or just be a better sport in general), it should adopt the following changes:

Penalty Kicks/Fouls in the Box

A) No penalty kicks, ever, to decide a knockout game. Take players off the field if you have to (e.g. after the first overtime, go down to 10 on 10, after the second go to 9 on 9), but make the fittest and grittiest team win the game on the field. It takes away all incentive for one team to spend the entire game playing for a shootout.

B) Video review all penalties resulting in a penalty kick. Duh.

C) There should also be differing levels of fouls inside the box – a penalty kick should only be given if a goal scoring opportunity was impeded. Otherwise, a direct free kick does the trick.

D) When penalties occur in attacking situations, they should be delayed, hockey style – let the attacking team keep trying to score until there’s a change in possession, as opposed to letting advantage end at some point.

Yellow and Red Cards

A) Video review all penalties resulting in a red card. Taking a player off completely changes the course of the game, and you have to get it right.

B) For a yellow card, do what rugby and hockey do – send the player off the field for 10 minutes. Here’s why that works well:

  • A yellow card becomes a legitimate penalty that benefits the current opponent…not something that might hurt you down the road and benefit some random future opponent who has no role in this game.
  • Diving is reduced because a yellow card becomes a real negative at the moment it is penalized.
  • The game is more exciting and there is more scoring because you will have uneven numbers of players sometimes – “power plays” are awesome.

Injuries

A) Injuries should not stop the game unless there is an injury risk – it is an absurd tradition. They don’t stop the game (or the clock) in rugby, a far more brutal sport, when someone gets hurt, why should they stop it in soccer? All it does is incentivize faking injuries.

B) If you are going to allow an injury to stop the game, you HAVE to make it stop the clock. You can’t allow players to shorten the game by faking injuries – when USA lost to Ghana in the last World Cup, Ghana faked maybe five minutes worth of injuries, which seemed like were matched up with about three minutes of injury time. The game clock on the screen not being “official” kind of upsets Americans.

C) If you have to get taken off the field in a stretcher, you should be out of the game.

Soccer can be amazingly dramatic and entertaining, and I absolutely love the World Cup. I’m also firmly aware that soccer is doing just fine and doesn’t give a crap about what will make Americans love it more…but like any good American, I can’t keep my opinions to myself.

Related Wait But Why Posts: 

Why Sports Fans are Sports Fans

73 thoughts on “Why Americans Don’t Love Soccer

  1. “D) When penalties occur in attacking situations, they should be delayed”
    They actually are and it’s called “Advantage”. If the attacking team is clearly in a good position after a player got wiped, the referee will let the game continue for a reasonable amount of time.

    You’re absolutely right about the cards. I would support both suggestions.

    As for the rest, I don’t know. I like the game how it is in general. I believe it has been toned down too much in terms of roughness though. In the early decades of Football they had more physical contact. Today every little thing is penalized. Don’t underestimate the injuries though, there have been fouls that resulted in a career end, Those guys run amazingly fast and snapping an ankle at those speeds is a horrible thing.

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  2. As a fUtbol hooligan living in USA, I can totally relate to this.
    Some parts cannot be changed; the weakest team in the world having a chance against the strongest team is what makes soccer worth watching/entertaining/for some betting (huge industry).
    Some other suggestions could be implemented, love the yellow card idea and injuries stopping time and game not stopping for injuries – toughen it up!

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  3. In spite of what the naysayers are blathering on about in this string of grumpy comments, I think you’ve nailed it. Those types of rules changes would increase American viewership over time. And if the US league (MSL) truly wants to increase their fan base, they’ll make some of those changes. BUT, the Americans who are already fans are happy with things the way the are, and we certainly would never expect FIFA to change things to cater to the U.S. I love shootouts. I love watching players take dives and roll around like they’re in agony when someone steps on their toe. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that you can almost lose your mind watching your team nurse a 1-0 lead for 80 minutes, dodging near miss after near miss. It’s the perfect sport, and most Americans just don’t get it.

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    • So now the other sports must change their rules so as to increase its viewership in the US? That’s not at all self centered!

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      • You and the other grumps are the ONLY ones using the word “MUST.” IF the American league WANTS to increase their AMERICAN fanbase, then these suggestions would probably do the trick. That’s a pretty simple statement that has absolutely NOTHING to do with international rules or country-specific rules in other parts of the world. Baseball rules vary from country to country as well in those countries that play that sport. So do basketball rules. I’m amazed at your ability to be insulted so easily.

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      • I think you’re right, these changes would make the MSL more attractive for US viewers. But as far as I know they wouldn’t be able to compete internationally anymore since there is a standard set of rules that must be met by all leagues. I’m not sure though.

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  4. Sorry, nonsense. The U.S. has always prided itself on doing it’s own thing. No foreign languages, no European sports. In addition, football is very popular here because it is so violent. The typical American is only vaguely aware of the rest of the world.

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  5. I agree with what you’ve said but I think the main reason it isn’t more popular is simply because we’ve always had a lot of our own sports.

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  6. Leave the sport alone dude, you got a crappy attitude. FOOTball is fine the way it is for everyone else in the world. If Americans don’t love it you think the whole sport should change to accomodate you guys? haha, piss off!

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    • If the “rest of the world”‘s reading comprehension is as poor as yours and the rest of the bitchy international commenters’, then the world is well and truly fucked.

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  7. Sorry but no, these aspects do not explain the real reason, you can’t analyze like that if you don’t know it deeply.

    It would be a total failure with your rules, sorry but it’s true.

    I’m convinced it’s simply that for some reason, at some time in recent history (early 1900’s), some people rejected bringing and developing soccer to US, so the seed was planted too late, after hockey, baseball and football were already firmly settled in american culture and already part of their identity.

    I’m sure US people would passionately love soccer as the rest of the world, just like they love other sports.

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  8. Soccer isn’t popular in the US because most of us didn’t grow up with it. It was the sport that the less athletic played back in the day. Times are changing though. It’s no longer only played on the coasts. The younger generation is playing soccer in far greater numbers than ever before. As a parent of a soccer player this is my least favorite to watch, primarily because I didn’t play it. And, I’m largely ignorant on how to help her be better compared to other sports. This attitude from parents invariably rubs off on the kids over time. However, eventually the attitudes will change and I predict the US will eventually love the sport. I wish I would have started earlier so I appreciated it more. It’s a great sport that you can play throughout your life. I spent my life focused on Football, which isn’t really something you can play, non-professional, as you get older. As an American I am very attracted to the National Pride soccer has. Baseball has always been unjust. That is a part of the game itself. Basketball has different rules for different players. Hockey has shoot-outs. Football has bad calls. All popular American sports have a degree of a lack of justice. Most notably the American past-time. Americans aren’t being arrogant not to like soccer as much as other sports. We are just more comfortable with what we grew up with.

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  9. The only main reason on why Soccer is that is a relatively new major league sport in the US.

    NFL dates from 1920
    NBA 1946
    MLB 1869 (!)
    NHL 1917

    …and the MLS (Major League Soccer, the US soccer league): 1993.

    Of course most US citizens will not root for a new league just like that, they just don’t get it yet (and its nothing wrong with this), they don’t have a strong fanbase because they don’t have the sport history that other countries/teams have, it is something new and maybe something that they don’t want to invest time in.

    Most of the times the sport/team you are a fan of comes from the family (the father was a fan, the brothers were fans) and with a young soccer league of course there is no tradition to “die for”.

    Also: more of the article’s points are complete nonsense, you can do better than that.

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  10. There is another thing that has been forgotten by the writer of the post: soccer is a sport where you can see beauty happen. A lot of its plays are nothing but skill and beauty. For the one seeing it, it is not all about results. You can enjoy a soccer match that has nothing to do with any team you support, just because it is enjoyable to see it happening. A sport doesn’t have to be all about fast results (points after points) to evoke strong emotion.

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    • Agreed! Even when you have hardly any idea of the rules of the game, scores are often beautiful, the way they quickly pass the ball fifteen times before they really do something, and maybe also the fact that they only wear shirt and short and make no use of tools, it’s just these men running after a ball on the field.

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  11. “No penalty kicks, ever, to decide a knockout game. Take players off the field if you have to (e.g. after the first overtime, go down to 10 on 10, after the second go to 9 on 9), but make the fittest and grittiest team win the game on the field. ”

    Nah, not reasonable. I don’t suppose you saw this year’s Champion’s League final, where by the 2nd extra period both teams were so gassed, some of them could barely move. A PK shootout is very exciting and isn’t a sure thing for either team.

    I strongly, strongly don’t want to see soccer start reviewing everything, as you suggest. Video review has made the end of close NBA games almost unwatchable live (DVR’s save the day) and many NFL games tedious. Soccer is about pace and flow. Video reviews will just be interruptions.

    “If you have to get taken of the field in a stretcher, you should be out of the game.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous. No other sport has such a rule. If soccer isn’t your thing, just say so. Not everyone has to like everything.

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  12. A lot of the more outraged comments here are the internet equivalent of rolling around on the field, with your eyes pinched shut, holding your shin trying to convince the refs that some fabricated offense has actually taken place. Instead of getting pissy, engage in a conversation (i.e. get up and get back in the game, you aren’t really hurt). Stop worrying about whether or not the poster is speaking for all Americans. He obviously doesn’t. And finally, read the whole post, for crissake. A person can be critical of something and still be a huge fan. Americans spend tons of time criticizing their own sports. Soccer/football fans all around the world criticize how the game is currently played/run/officiated — to act that the rest of the world has no criticism to offer about football is disingenuous at best. Calm down and make a counter argument that is more substantial than “you just don’t understand” and/or “you’re just an American jerkface.”

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  13. With all due respect to the author onhis first post. I think that aside from all the other suggestions that has nothing to do with the game of ‘Fútbol’, just imagine a bunch of kids somewhere in a village in Africa or in the mountains of the Andes, trying to emulate what their heroes do in the pitch with “VIDEO” review. OH WAIT BUT WHY? Riiight ……Because they may not even have clean water, electricity, or proper food and basic health services, but video cameras and all the gadgets to play ‘Soccer’, yeah sure. You see, the thing is fútbol or football is played with imagination and some kind of ball, even if it’s made out of wrapped newspapers, it’s okay! You could play with your friends in your own living room, or in a basketball court or pretty much anywhere where you can use your skills and imagination to have fun and enjoy the game. No ICT needed. Yet!

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    • Thanks Captain. FYI, all sports can be played without the use of video. We are talking professional leagues and competitions where video should be used. Guess what, because you play football with only “some kind of” ball doesn’t mean that other sports can’t be played as simply. Let’s look at it for a second … baseball, all I need is a ball too. I can catch with my hands and even bat with my arms/hands if a stick isn’t available. Basketball … all I need is a bouncy ball and a rim from a bicycle. American Football … all I need is a football. Hockey …. all I need is a ball and a stick to play a form of the game on the street. No need for any video anywhere. You have a pretentious, holier than thou, attitude about football/soccer. For the record, I love football/soccer but am not so full of crap to think that it is the “be all to end all.” All sports are played with imagination, creativity and skill and lots of sports move nations and people. It just depends on your perspective. By the way, the English, the inventors of the game, came up with the term Soccer. It’s short for aSOCCiation football (notice the SOCC in association i.e. SOCCer).

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  14. Its a very good thing you added the last sentence. I quite miss statistics and researchresults backing your story up, but well, youre not Tim.

    More scoring is not better btw. The way we feel when Robben takes the ball and you KNOW he is gonna mess with the defenseguys and gonna score.. those few seconds it takes him to get past them are heaven. And it wouldnt feel that way if it was just one of the many scores.

    But we just squeezed spain so this is my gut talking 😀

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  15. The angry posts here don’t seem to have a clue what the OP’s point is. What he means by “justice” is more like “meritocracy,” the idea that the better team should win. And it’s true- in soccer, you’re much more likely to see the inferior team win due to some single freak occurrence than you are in American sports.

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  16. I am European, but I loved reading this article. You made me understand why I don’t like at all soccer.
    There is no justice in Soccer.

    The biggest example that proves your point.
    The 2004 European Cup winner was Greece …
    Remember that one? The worst team won the European Cup, playing the worst game.
    The entire team was playing defence trying to keep the zero (0), and with some lucky moments, they scored one goal winning much better teams than them.
    Like Czech Republic or France or Portugal.
    By pure luck and by destroying the game for all other teams, and for the fans – spectators, they won the European Cup.

    This thing cannot happen in any other sport, and it has not happen.

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  17. Some very interesting points…

    Don’t agree with all the proposed changes, but camera reviews of critical decisions such as goals and red cards are long overdue. I also really liked the idea of time penalties as opposed to yellow cards and the game time actually being authoritative.

    I disagree on the penalty shootout issue, but I can see how it can be frustrating from an American point of view. To me it is great entertainment and the whole tactic of defending your way to the penalties can also backfire horribly. Also, I like that there are a lot of different tactics you can use in order to win and other than timewasting and diving they are all perfectly legitimate.

    One could of course also question the entire obsession with justice in American sports, but that obviously wasn’t the point of the post.

    Anyway, good job on your first time writing on WBW – hope you’ll get to do this more often!

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  18. Actually, its unpopular in the US because the whole notion of the game is incorrect (in my view)- which is not allowing the player to use his hands. Hands, the thing that separates humans from the animals, is what make men, men. We build things, write things, type things, say things, etc etc with our hands. Our hands connect us to the world in the most intimate way while in sports allows us to show a manifestation of the highest possible dexterity. Basketball, Football, Hockey, Baseball all require hands in a major way. The reason i find soccer uninteresting is because it takes that away – it doesn’t allow me to say, team A has better men the team B – because we handicapped all of them to a low level form of life.

    Just a thought.

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  19. This was okay but I’ve come to expect more from a Wait But Why article and have to admit I’m a little disappointed. Please tell me something else is coming soon…

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  20. Soccer might have more of a chance in America if pretentious twats didn’t insist on making everyone acknowledge it as football. Yes, we know it’s “football” to most of the world. But in America we already have a well established sport going by that name, and that ain’t about to change.

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  21. There are some great ideas here. The most important thing to me is that a game should be fair, and when a poor call by a referee affects the outcome of a game, that just sucks. Video reviewing all game changing plays is a must. A possible solution would be to give each team 3 challenges per game. If a team challenges a call and wins, they keep their challenge, if they lose, they lose one of their challenges. Simple and effective.

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  22. Hello There.
    I am french (sorry for that) and my english may be bad (sorry for that too)
    I have loved football, more than any “thing” (I love my wife more, obviously) in my life, for as long as I can remember. I also work for a monthly football magazine here in France, the first one when it comes to football (www.sofoot.com).
    So you can say football is kind of a big deal in my life. I also like sports in general, I can be excited by some curling, if only the competition is sexy enought or if I know some backstory for the people involved.
    Reading this article, I was a bit disturbed because I don’t really know what the author think about “my” sport. Everybody have interest in Football this month because of the world cup, bur where will you be in décember when the only game on tv will be a french cup 16th finals between to division 2 teams ?
    I watch football everyday, all year long, and I know what i love it : there is drama in footbal, there are rare moments of good play, and lots of moments of bad play, fouls, time wasting, etc.
    That is the whole point about football. We don’t want the referee to see with the video if a player deserves to be booked with a red car. We don’t want all the fouls in the box to be analyzed with video, and we surely like penalty shootouts ! We love to cry about how the ref was wrong about a penlaty or an offside. In every TV show or newspaper about football, every day of the year, you can read about thoses problematics : referees, injurys, faking, video checking. If nothing (seems toà change, it is not because we don’t talk about it, but because thoses changes are not seen has good ideas (for now ?)

    Somebody here told that Greece in 2004 didn’t deserve the win, and was a bad team. How stupid is that. This team, build by a very good German coach with players physicaly in perfect shape, and playing with each other with an outsanding sence of collective and team spirit was a blessing for football. Yes, they played defensive, but being defensive is part of the game. You are allowed to do that, and you have to know that it is very difficult to play defensive AND to win games. This is not the strategy you pick when you have a bad team. What Greece did was brilliant. You must have talented defenders in your team. And because I often hear the word “defense” during NBA games, I think you Yanks can get that 🙂 Greece had some luck. Yeah, like all team who wins international tournaments, You need luck. My team of France was very lucky AND talendted ine 98 when they won the world cup. In 2004, Greece beat France 1-0 in a near tied game. I was very sad of course, but the outcome of the game was quite fair in the end.

    There is no merit in football, there are only victories, defeats and ties. And that’s teh beauty of it.

    I totaly get why football is not so big in the US, because we don’t have the same customs about sports. In europe we love to see the clock going even when the game is stopped, we do not like when a game last for hours, like a NBA game. When you already saw 80 points, how can you feel something special when another one is scored ? And when the last 5 minutes of a game last for almost an hour (I am exagerating, I know) with all the stops and the teimouts, it drives me crazy ! In football, when you wait several minutes for a goal, you can imagine that it makes you very very happy if the goal is for you side, and very sad if the goal is against you.

    And those who think that football doesn’t want to change, and is stuck in the past, you have to know that the rules of the games changes every 4 years : with each worl cup, new rules or tools are set up and I think it is a good thing. In the 80’s, gollkeepers where allowed to take a ball given by a team mate with their hands. It changed in the early 90’s. The whole offside rule was reviewed several years ago and totaly changed what you can do on the pitch. If football doesn’t go with the ideas of this article, it is not because it doesn’t want to change, it is because it doesn’t want to go that way.

    I think the only valid point is about temporary exclusions. And it might come soon. But all the other ideas seems like nonsenses to me, and make me thing that your are talking about a totaly different sport than the one that I love so much.
    Something important to understand football is to play a real game (with a true pithc, with true rules and, if possible, a refereee). I think you guys woul feel different about it. If you have the opportunity, do it.
    To finish, you have to know that you have a big country, with a lot of people in it. And that there are almost the same amount of people that plays and watch football in the US has in the 5 big football countries in europe (England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany). That’s something !

    Cheers to you all, and good luck in the world cup ! (Client Dempsey is the man !)

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  23. You can easily write similar article from the opposite side… Football has its crazy rules and delays, baseball has the biggest cheaters in the professional sports etc, etc… (Not to mention, why are you calling American Football a “Football” game when is played mostly by hand, why are you calling any American sport champion a “World Champion” even though it only really includes US teams mostly and baseball championship is “World Series” when it is really not, why are all baseball fields different sizes yet you spend so much time on stats and the crowning achievement – judging the pitches in baseball when you could easily use technology to make baseball strike/ball calls 100% accurate… Don’t get me started 🙂

    But sticking with soccer… It is true that they ruined “soccer” by letting all the acting to continue. They should rename Fifa – World Diving Federation or at least give Oscars for acting…

    Only way to bring “soccer” back to its roots is to impose video reviews and then harsh sentences for divers and actors (I am thinking first Oscar is 1 game, second 5 games, third a season, and 4th is lifetime ban)….

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  24. I find the fact that virtually every person in the Facebook comments thread who isn’t from the U. S. MISREAD the article as completely earnest to be funnier than the article itself.

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  25. In my opinion if there is a good referee, there is justice if not, there isn’t. But the perfect referee doesn’t exist so you need to give him a hand by technical devices which can support. The Fifa is traditional and overaged.
    So some of your suggestions are very good like review a penalty and i’m a big fan of stoping the clock in every gameebreak.
    Some are nonsense – Ice-hockey got a shootout or am i wrong?
    As a football player i could say it’s part of the game to get a yellow card for a tactical foul. It’s a tactical element of the game that every person can do one foul.
    Some are already there like the advantage after a foul. Pull the goalie out of the box doesn’t make sense on a 105 x 65 meter field. It would lead into a 5 min. power-play that not the sense of an advantage.
    But i hope that someone who has some influence in the FIFA reads your article and starts a discussion how more technical devices make football more just.

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  26. I like the comment Gilles posted, I agree with most of it. As for the suggestions made in this post, I think most wouldn’t be feasible.

    They should in my opinion, add the element of giving each team one “challange” per half, which allows a team to fight a certain decision by the ref when they think it is obviously a bad decision. In this case, the video images would be checked to see if the ref made the right call, and the decision will be invoked if proven obviously wrong. When the video images turn out to be unconclusive, the original decision stays. Also, you lose your challange when it turns out you were wrong. IF you’re correct, you get to keep it and use it later on. This way- the teams won’t fight every small decision and the pace and flow of the game is upheld, but for crucial, game changing decisions you would consider using your challange. I think they use a system similar (or identical) to this in hockey. (the one played on the field, not ice)

    Adding video ref’s would be detrimental for the overall flow and pace of the game. I’m also not a fan of stopping the clock.. just add more time when the half ends. Taking a player out for 5 minutes or so after being carded seems great on paper, but will just result in one team playing extremely defensively for 5 minutes and will not really add any interesting element to the game. Losing one player in soccer is not as disadvantageous as with ice hockey for example.. its just not the same.

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    • Oh btw: I’d love to see USA continue to the next round. Based on team spirit and work effort they trully deserve it: an example for a lot teams out there! See you in the semi’s maybe?! 😀

      Best wishes from Holland 😉

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  27. I’m an American who grew up playing soccer and all the other popular sports here. I even lived in Germany and played on an American team. I loved playing the game. Watching and following it is enjoyable but the problem in America is the sports viewing market is so saturated. There is only so much of your attention you can give to watching sports.

    The next problem is you end up liking what you’ve grown up with. The vast majority here don’t grow up playing soccer and so they don’t understand it enough to embrace it at the age you strictly become a spectator. Since most of us grow up with other sports that are high-scoring means we develop an appetite for higher scoring sports. In my opinion, some are too high-scoring (basketball) or have too many games (baseball) to stay interested enough for every game.

    On the other side you have soccer with the least number of scores. In order to enjoy watching as a spectator when your aim is not to just get drunk and sing songs, you need to know there is a relatively good opportunity for a losing team to come back. That is the one area where I think soccer loses out to American football, where there are incredible 4th quarter comebacks. Americans love big comebacks or “rallys” American football is never truly over until the clock hits zero. A large amount of points can be scored in a very short time by the offense or defense OR no points can be scored at all. The unpredictability keeps you on the edge of you seat in anticipation. In soccer, if a team goes up 3-1 or 2-0 there is like an 85% chance they will go on to win it, 13% chance they tie it and 2% they lose it. The outcome is too predictable and if a team goes up by two goals 20 minutes into the game, it makes the outcome nearly decided already! This is not good from a spectator’s perspective. So for mes as a spectator, it is not so much an issue of not enough scoring as it is the unpredictability of the outcome at any one point in the game. This is the no. 1 reason why American football will always be king in America.

    If soccer wants to really catch hold in the U.S. and challenge baseball and basketball, the unpredictability of the outcome needs to be increased. If it was up to me, I would make the goal 4 feet taller and 2 feet wider. I see every goalie can easily dunk a ball over the cross bar and most shots miss high. In my opinion, the goal is too short for grown men but a good size for youth soccer. Get the average goals scored up to 4-5 a game and you preserve the high value of a goal while greatly increasing the unpredictability at any point in the game. I’d imagine the number of NFL touchdowns a game is not much higher than 4-5. The one thing soccer has over American football is the continuous nature. The capitalistic economy in America has made our football games last four hours after the bombardment of commercials.

    In my opinion the best kept secret in the world of sports is American NCAA (collegiate) football. In my opinion, it beats the NFL in the following ways:

    1) There are a ton more upsets and comebacks in the NCAA than in the NFL. The unpredictability is the highest of any sport in the world.

    2) With 130 teams in the top division, NCAA FBS, the styles vary widely from spread offenses, power offenses, run-heavy option attacks or fun-n-guns air raids. To the contrary, the NFL is pretty much all pro-style with the same base formations and similar pass-run ratios across the league. Your QB is everything to your team’s success but, in the NCAA, teams can win in a variety of ways by maximizing strengths and minimizing weaknesses. This approach does not have near the same effect in the NFL.

    3) The players are not paid, yet the skill level is still very high. They give effort for the sake of their team and University, not for their next contract.

    4) The fans are far more passionate! The spirit of major collegiate football is the only one that equals the nationalistic spirit that captivates the world during the World Cup. The reason for this is because fans are usually either students or alumni at the University making them closely connected to the team through their University attendance affiliation which you will be known by the rest of your life. It’s similar to national citizenship. In this case, you could call in a domestic citizenship. Some in the southern USA actually base their college decision on the prestige of its football program. This is the only other sports situation that can create the fan frenzy equal to the World Cup on a yearly basis that lasts five months!

    5) Every regular season game has a playoff atmosphere because one loss can eliminate you from competing for the national championship. No other sport in the world offers a regular season with the stakes of a playoff.

    6) Traditions. Each University holds pregame pep rallies, fields bands that play throughout the game, cheerleading squads, dance teams, mascots and many sing post-game alma mater songs with their fans.

    7) The Heisman trophy, given to the best college football player after each season, is the most prestigious player award in all of American sports culture. The second half of the season includes the storylines of debate on who is rising and falling in the Heisman trophy race.

    Here’s a taste of NCAA football in the the USA. These are regular season games which begin the first week of September…

    First game of the season for the eventual national champions Florida St. Seminoles

    David (Texas A&M) stuns Goliath (Alabama) in his home stadium handing No. 1 Alabama their first loss in over two years.

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  28. Some changes that I believe would improve the game.
    1. Have another line about 10-15 yards from the penalty area. When the ball is in that area the offside is removed.
    2. I agree about a player having to sit for 5 mins for a yellow card, 10 mins for red card. A second red card would be expulsion from the game but the player can still play next game unless after a review once the game was over it was found to be a blatant or flagrant foul.
    3. Penalize a player for diving (after a quick review by the officials and then the info passed on to the ref-1 minute to make the call and then issue yellow card)
    4. A player would have 5 seconds for a throw in once the ref signals for the play to begin or loose the ball to the opposing team.
    5. A player would have 45 seconds for a corner kick or loose the ball to the opposing team.
    6. If there is a score, there can be a pause of 1 minute to get the ball in play again. This would prevent the clock to just continue to run and give the team who just got scored on ample time to have a chance for them to score.
    7. On the extra time given, make the clock the official time and count it from 3, 4, 5 mins or whatever backwards. Stop the clock after each whistle and start it again once the ball is in play. This would eliminate a team from killing time by holding on to the ball. Don’t add any minutes after the first 45 minutes of play but add whatever extra time to the end of the game.
    8. If a shoot out is necessary, instead of just having 5 shots, make it so that the first team to reach 5 wins. If a team is down 4-0 they mathematically still have a chance. Also make it two on two rather than just one on one. That would require more strategy on both sides.

    It would be more exciting for the fans to count down the seconds to the end of the game instead of the ref deciding on himself when to end the game. If a team is behind they would go all out trying to score if they see how much time is actually left.

    With todays modern technology I don’t see why it’s left up to the field ref to decide how much time is left. Modern technology can be useful for nbrs 2,3 and 4

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  29. What I have noticed about soccer, and yes I love to watch the World Cup, is that it is a game of defense. It seems like that teams play NOT to loose rather than try to win. I see a team attacking the opposing goal with three players vs 8 defensemen plus the goalie.

    As a poster commented that they love to see the beauty of the footwork of a player but what good does it do if there is no score. The majority of the attacks are from the left or the right side. I don’t see a team taking a chance by attacking with 6-8 players but will try to score, by chance most of the time, with three players vs gobs of defensive players.
    Hey, times change and so should the game of football/soccer.

    I know that FIFA wants to protect the “purity” of the game but why not try some changes as an experiment. Look at how the Basketball game changed and made it so much more exciting with the introduction of the old ABA’s three point shot, which was fought tooth and nail by the NBA. But I know those fuddy-duddies of FIFA won’t ever try to make any changes so its just wishful thinking on anybody’s part.

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  30. Oh, and one more thing, it was mentioned about when the NFL, NBA, NHA, MLB started, well basketball is a sported invented in the US, but yet FIBA has its own rules, so why cant soccer in the US have it own rules. Make changes to make the game more appealing to the American audience and let the world follow if they want.

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  31. Why can’t football have its on rules in America. Simple reason why not.
    Football and it is football not soccer.
    Football is a world wide sport which provides the worlds second biggest sporting event behind the Olympic games. Even that has football. Think it even has basketball/netball.
    But the reason you can’t change the rules to suit your self is when the Americans came to the World Cup they’ll be playing by their own rules.
    And your player that play in different countries would have to learn two sets of rules.

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  32. I’m not fan of soccer, but that’s mostly just because I don’t like team sports… but.. you have it ass-backwards – it’s just not exciting to see huge numbers of the scoreboard.. what is exciting is a game like soccer or hockey where there is something called “suspense”… the worst offender is basketball, score, score, score, score, score, score, score, score… oh 10 minutes into the game already? They are slow today, I would have thought it was just 5.

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  33. I don’t know anything about American justice/ dream, but I agree with 2 points u brought up. Sin bin and video reviews.

    Sin bin is being proposed by a FIFA presidential candiate now. A lot of teams with squad depths tend to have a style of defending aggressively, especially when playing against rival teams, picking up more than half a dozen of yellows, stopping opponents offensive plays, forcing turnovers which leads to quick counters.

    Video reviews can be really critical in cutting out unsportsmanlike behaviours. teams can have repeated offenders of diving then accuse other teams and referees of a campaign against themselves. why blame others when u dived in the first place?

    same shits can happen with faking injuries. he can be holding his knee from referees’s view and smiling at the camera at the same time. Players who suffered actual contact have to tolerate taunts of faking injuries, forced to stand up when it probably hurts like fuck.

    Maybe the MLS could find some ways with FIFA to implement these changes in certain parts of the world like US where such rules are common.

    anyway, don’t bother replying me if u expect replies . I won’t be here again. 🙂

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  34. I never understood why does it have to be so hard to change soccer rules. I mean, we are not trying to change some country’s form of government or change its constitution, it’s only about a couple of rules in a game. Why does it have to be so complicated?

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  35. All those things you want to improve are honestly what makes soccer fun. Sure some of its annoying when not played to your advantage, but that just fuels the fire to want to play better. And I think in any sport sometimes the better team loses. There is so much more to soccer than winning.

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  36. I’m American and like soccer but it’s not my favorite for a couple of reasons:
    1)Fake injuries. I get why they do it but that’s really unsportsman to me. I hate fake injuries in football and basketball too but they are rare compared to soccer.
    2)Ties. Why the fuck do I wanna watch a game where no one wins. What’s the point of playing in the first place. Who walks onto a field and says “hey wouldn’t it be great to tie”? Real athletes are competitive and want victory.
    3)Most of the time nothing significantly is really happening. Ive watched games where a shot isn’t even taken for 30 minutes. Meanwhile in football every play is either the offense making a good advancement or the defense making a good stop. Hockey has exciting hits and great goalie saves, basketball has exciting dunks, but soccer just seems to be a lot of kicking the ball back and forth will very little to no significant action

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  37. If Americans love justice so much, how come they have one of the least just societies in the world? Why is soccer by far the most loved sport in societies that value justice far more than the US society does?

    There’s no reason to change the rules of the game only so that it resembles things North-Americans are used to. There’s also no reason to exhaust soccer players to death by the “remove-a-player” rule, which doesn’t make any basic sense (fewer players=more running, and that after two hours of extreme exertion).

    Finally, my own take on why soccer is not popular in the US: US is a hero-worship culture, while soccer is a team sport, where individuals can only help their team so much. Summing up the data for each player into a score for the whole team (essentially ignoring team-play effects as negligible compared to the contribution of individual talent and skill) works wonders for predicting the results of games North Americans like, and has very limited success with soccer.

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  38. Yes it is true that soccer/football may be the most unfair sports on the planet but that is why people love it. No matter how better or talented the other team is, if your team works very hard and use the right strategies they have a very high probability of winning the match/game. This wouldn’t happen in most sport

    Also, football/soccer is a game where strategy is extremely important, & gives teams the choices of using whatever means necessary to win, whether through cheating, lying, acting, wasting time, pretending to hurt when they are not..just because you are the most talented team or better doesn’t mean anything at all unless you’re ready to outsmart your opponents…it makes winning sweeter when you know your team got away with it, & defeat more painful when you know your team deserves better..

    Football/soccer is more closer to real life, it is very difficult to score & you need to work hard, & just because you play fair doesn’t mean you should win & a lot of times in life you just need to settle for a draw & move on.

    Soccer/football is also a game you can watch the players just pass the ball around quickly & beautiful, dribble past many players, just for fun with no immediate end product or aim in mind, most of the time, soccer is just about dancing with the ball, beautiful flowing movements with the commentators just making chit-chat & apart from high stake tournament such as the world cup, most league matches are just relaxing & beautiful affairs, not a must score, must win affair. We can settle for a tie

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  39. Bernd, people do NOT love football because it is so unfair. People love it despite this fact. People hate the unfairness of it, and hate the fact that corrupt FIFA officials are allowing the status quo to continue. If you are wondering why there is no video referee for penalties or red cards, as this would be the obvious thing to have when sometimes there are millions and millions of dollars at stake, then the obvious answer must be, and is, that the rules do not change exactly because of these millions of dollars, or euros.
    It would become us Europeans to listen carefully when wise words of advice are given, and not discredit the advisor immediately, only for being American. As the American saying goes: ‘If a fool gives you a dollar, it is still a good dollar’, not implying that Andrew Finn is a fool. Quite the opposite, judging from his analysis.

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  40. Typical dumb Yanks: If they’re too stupid to understand something, it has to be destroyed and simplified to make things comprehensible for their lard brains.

    Besides, Yanks lecturing others about justice and corruption is quite comical, given their international track record of starting wars, committing massacres and instigating coup d’etats. They stole the land they live on today from the native tribes and abducted millions of Africans to enslave them for centuries. But since they delude themselves into being “exceptional”, they’ve got to teach the rest of the world manners… Sure.

    The U.S. is a football minnow and that won’t change. I still hear U.S. media and fans boasting during the 1994 World Cup, how “20 years from now we’re gonna win our first World Cup and DOMINATE “soccer” from there on!”
    Yep, that worked out great, didn’t it?

    In other words: a segregated greed-driven society, that made everything, including health care, education, safety and even youth sports, a commodity, will never produce elite results. “Soccer” in the U.S. has always been an expensive youth sport, affordable only for the white middle class and above, leaving vast talent pools untapped. A look at college “soccer” rosters or both U.S. national teams confirms this. Their only black players are from Canada or Germany, wealthy societies with social systems actually worth the name.

    Then there’s no league system in Yankistan, only franchise circus congregations without relegation and teams that feature a handful “designated players” along with a bunch of low-wage gophers. This model, combined with the U.S. typical societal voracity for instant gratification, will never be able to seriously compete at the world stage.

    In other words: shut up Yanks and keep sitting at the children’s table! Leave the constitution of football’s rules to those who actually know how to play it. Stick to guns, baseball or American rugby and spare actual civilized cultures of the world your uneducated nonsense.

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  41. I thought it was more related to the fact that the big sports networks can’t figure out a way to break up soccer matches into neat chunks, so that they can sell ad time. American football has lots of built-in down time, so the game can be “paused” often and easily for ads. Soccer doesn’t have that. It just goes on and on and on (which, frankly, attests to the excellent long-term stamina of the players compared to the American football players who are either sprinters or just fat).

    WAY more little kids play soccer in the US than football, which means that way more adults have played soccer instead of football, yet it still isn’t popular. But, I think it’s mostly because of TV networks’ greed.

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  42. Interesting ideas. Even from a Brazilian sounds like some of then could work, but i don´t think we will ever see those in place. A lot of interest hidden behind the scenes. Video review is a nor brainner for me.

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