Halberstadt: Brainstorming ways to make soccer more exciting

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

It’s not a secret that I am not a professional soccer fan. With that being said, I do know that multiple millions of people around the globe are hyper excited by the World Cup. As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t figure out why.

Earlier today (Sunday, June 15), I happened to see part of the match between France and Honduras. Keep in mind, I didn’t purposely sit down to watch this. It was on at the house I was visiting for Father’s Day, and I had no choice. Anyway, as I was subjected to this against my will, I tried to absorb as much as I could and continue to try to figure out this sport’s popularity. The people in attendance were waving flags and going nuts. For what?

The score was 0-0, and the most exciting thing happening was a stoppage of play for a guy who appeared to be faking an injury. After a few minutes of apparent crippling agony, he rose to his feet and continued to play. I’m thinking he has a Hollywood career waiting for him after he’s done with soccer.

A few of us at this party came up with some ideas of our own about how to make this sport more exciting for those of us who haven’t thoroughly evolved. One suggestion I liked was to make the goal area the entire width of the field. This would allow for more goals and more excitement. Another person said if they did that they could use three goalies instead of one and employ more players looking for work. Imagine two more players on each and every one of those thousands of professional teams — that’s a lot of jobs!

Another brilliant idea was to incorporate multiple soccer balls on the field at the same time. Perhaps three or four balls in play at once would move the needle on the interesting meter from sleep-inducing boring to, “Hey, this is kind of fun.”

My favorite of all the suggestions was an add-on to the multiple-ball idea. If three balls were in play at one time, why not make one of them extremely heavy? This ball could be a different color and very difficult to kick long distances, and almost certainly no one would want to use their head to advance this ball. If this “mega” ball did make it past the goalie, it would count for 3 points instead of the usual 1. I’m imaging a whole new level of excitement would creep into the sport. It could create mass hysteria during the final few minutes of a 2-0 game.

I say give the futbol fans something truly worthy of waving their miniature flags for. Instead of one “Gooooooooooooaaaaal” per game, I’d like to see the crazed announcer lose his voice calling eight to 10 goals a game.

The game is still being played in much the same way it was first invented. Most American sports have tweaked their rules in some manner to make the game more exciting for the fans. I propose it’s time for soccer to do the same.

Come on, soccer, you can do better. You’re already the No. 1 sport in the entire world, why not bring it into the 21st century?

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.

Posted June 17, 2014

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