Seattle Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid says there’s too much flopping in soccer. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we have a plan to revolutionize the international game of football. And yes, it involves weapons.
Soccer may be catching on here in Seattle, but around America it still takes a back seat to other sports, like competitive hot dog eating, mixed martial arts, and hockey. Americans don’t like soccer because it’s too soft, with an abundance of the aforementioned flopping. The last thing we want to see is a bunch of pansy cheaters compete against one another to see who can alter the game more by bending the rules and manipulating the officials. So what can we do about that?
Here’s our five-step plan.
1. Allow fighting.
We can look to hockey as the example. The purist may tune in to watch the action, but the casual fan wants to see guys beat the hell out of each other. That’s where soccer is completely missing the boat.
Leaders of the soccer movement must realize that fighting should be embraced, not shunned. Instead of handing out yellow cards for inadvertent body contact, why not stop the clock and stand back as a midfielder and defender settle their hissy fit like two men? Instead of rewarding the first player to fall to the turf and grab his knee in mock agony, take an honest approach to these on-field disputes.
Once the fisticuffs is complete, send both players to the sidelines for two minutes apiece before they’re allowed back on the pitch. A small price to pay for the millions of dollars in entertainment revenue they’ve brought the sport.
2. Punish flopping.
Instead of decrying physical acts of retribution, why not eject the cheater that turns a blind eye to moral ethos by flopping?
And don’t stop there, either. If you’re going to eject someone, do it right. Suspend that black-hearted pirate for two additional games after his criminal act of deceit, then make him pay a $10,000 fine to charity.
Everyone wins in this situation. Except the bad guys.
3. Broadcast games on Spike TV.
Nothing says “I AM A MAN!” quite like Spike TV. The MLS shouldn’t settle for ESPN2 when there are better networks out there.
ESPN2 is the Siberia of television sports. Sandwiched between a rerun of Nascar Now and a teenage cheerleading competition is the MLS Game of the Week. That’s just cold.
Instead, MLS games could be adjacent to a showing of Pros vs. Joes and a UFC undercard match. Talk about appealing to a whole new fan base.
4. Add a 12th player to each side: Enforcer.
Striker, Keeper, Midfielder, Defense, Enforcer. Yes, Enforcer.
The Enforcer would be the 12th man of soccer, stepping out onto the lush green grass in attempts to soil the turf with blood.
A beast of a man, the Enforcer could be a former college linebacker, or perhaps a just-released ex-con. Not necessarily blessed with tremendous foot speed or soccer skills, the Enforcer would patrol a limited area of the field (probably the defensive backfield) and wreak havoc on opponents.
Sending lithe forwards flying through the air with well-timed slide tackles, and setting earth-shattering picks for his teammates to utilize, the Enforcer would bring a whole new element to the game and quickly become a fan favorite of the hometown crowd.
5. Give the players weapons.
In hockey, we give the players sticks and let them skate around on well-sharpened steel blades. In soccer, we ask that opposing team members gently refrain from harming one another. In the world of New Soccer, those days would be over.
Since soccer players can’t use their hands as it is, my theory is we hand each of them paintball guns and let them run around shooting at each other.
Imagine carrying out a bicycle kick while being pelted with pint-size cylinders of paint that explode on impact.
Imagine drawing up a play on a corner kick in which one player comes flying in for a header, while the rest of his teammates fire away at the goalie.
Imagine the goalie firing a well-timed shot at a would-be scorer’s gonads.
These are the possibilities we can look forward to in the world of a revolutionized game of soccer. Now who’s with me?