9 WAYS TO MAKE SOCCER POPULAR IN THE USA
9 WAYS TO MAKE SOCCER POPULAR IN THE USA by Matt PierceWith another World Cup being put mercifully to sleep, Americans can get back to concentrating on sports they actually care about. While the international spectacle has several things going for it: a prognosticating octopus, some hilarious names (Shittu, Stankovic, and wasn't Spain's winning goal scored by Auntie Esther?) and a fan base that would make a monster truck rally look downright classy, for the most part the sport tends to lack the pizzazz, the majesty, and the SCORING that most Americans come to expect from their sports. However, with a few subtle changes, soccer (or football, which some unfortunate foreigners still call it, not realizing that this name has been given to a vastly superior and much more violent game) could be as popular here in the states as it is internationally. Here are my suggestions:1.LIGHT UP THE GOALPOSTS!You know how in hockey, the goalpost lights up whenever the puck goes through, signifying a goal? If they implemented this, it would put an end to many of the controversial"non-goals" that vex the international soccer community. Duh.2.INSTANT REPLAYIn a sport where flopping is the norm (does Laker guard Derek Fisher play soccer?), and bad calls are almost constantly being complained about, they still don't have instant replay. What gives?3.AUTOMATIC RED CARD FOR FLOPPINGObvious flopping (as determined by instant replay) would be punishable by immediate ejection.4.REGULATE THE VUVUZUELAOnce thought to be a small island off the coast of Makealottanoiseica, the vuvuzuela turns out to be the most annoying instrument this side of the caralarmaphone! My plan is to make the Vuvzuelans pass a course to prove that they're not tone deaf and anyone carrying a "vuvu" would have to show the authorites their vuvzuela licence. This would eliminate the vuvuzuela permanently.5.NO MORE FREE KICKSPlay until someone wins. If this results in an actual sudden death, so be it.6.NO MORE OFF SIDESIn other sports, when you pass an opponent because of his lack of speed or athletic ability, it's called bad defense. But when the slowpoke defender can't keep up with the superior offensive player who's about to receive a pass which could end up with the disastrous result of someone actually being in position to score a goal in soccer, it's considered an unfair advantage! God forbid someone should actually score in this fershlugginer sport!7. NO MORE GOALIESThey don't have some guy sitting on top of the basket swatting shots in the NBA. There's no wall in front of home plate in baseball. Think of the lives of South American soccer players that would have been saved if they had eliminated goalies 15 years ago!8.MORE POINTSIn a game where scoring is kept to a minimum, why not up the ante and make every goal worth 3, nay, 6 points! This would tick off the purists, but if you heard there was a match where Germany led England 18-12, wouldn't you tune in?9.SCREW IT!Just make the ball oval-shaped and made of pigskin, let people use their hands, put yard lines on the field, give the teams 4 downs to make it to 10 yards and allow tackling. What the heck, I'll even let you call it football again!