I am a rarity. An American Soccer fan. I am one of millions who grew up playing the game. Which is something so many American young people participate in, but that large contingent should lead to a healthy following. Up until recently that could be farther from the truth. Even now Football, as the world calls it… and lets be honest the name makes way more sense than what WE, as Americans, refer to as “football”, is a moderately popular sport here, and its requiring an unprecedented boom to get to the levels it has with this year’s edition of the World Cup.

Still the things that seem to be ingrained in the game are things that turn off American fans the most. So today I’m going to clear up a handful of those things we saw. Things that need to be addressed and fixed moving forward.

Sadly FIFA hasn’t been exactly “open minded” when it comes to changing the “world’s game”. So I wouldn’t hold my breath…

WWE styled Selling at a vigorous toe-stubbing.

I’m not knocking pro-wrestling. But damn I’m reminded of it when I see a player get contested for a ball and go to the ground like he just took a bullet to the leg. In wrestling the art of pretending like a shot actually landed and did damage is called “selling”. In Soccer the goal is the same. You want someone to believe you’ve been harmed beyond repair. In THIS instance, the referee is the target. For a free kick. To get a key player on the other side, a card.

Why this sours Americans? We like our athletes to be tough. We love the story of a guy or girl “gutting it out” through injury. We also are brought up not to “fake” injury. We are told the story of the “Boy who cried wolf”. Embellishment is one thing. We see that in the NBA and the NHL. But to watch these guys flop and twitch on the pitch is like watching a melodramatic spanish soap opera. I think this is one area where our (meaning the USA’s) style of play should be more adopted throughout. Running through tackles, instead of going down at the nearest breeze from an intruding defender.

Can it be fixed? Absolutely. For the sublimely absurd, you can fine, suspend, or dole out an “after the fact” yellow card. This is specificically for games on the World Stage… and you can implement it for most professional soccer leagues. They all have governing bodies. It will make a player think twice about going down, and if they do get knocked down they aren’t going to be play acting in hopes of getting a call.

Refereeing Trainwreck

This World Cup saw countless refereeing blunders. FIFA went out of their way to protect giant blunders. Mistakes will be made, but you have to make sure you have the best of the best in there to call these games.

Why this sours THE WORLD? Going back to the France vs. Ireland qualifier. Henry’s handball that got France a goal and got them into the World Cup was a horrible missed call. Calls throughout the World Cup have gone against and for teams and too often then they should be, the referees have “been the story”.

Can it be fixed? Not entirely. But it can and should be improved. Make sure that only the best referees end up calling World Cup games. Another thing to consider? A possible additional referee. LIke what the NHL has done having 2 referees and 2 linesmen. ITs a huge field with 22 players. NO man can see everything that’s going on.

We have technology. Use it.

I love that the game flows and there isn’t a massive amount of stoppage (unless one or both teams are dive and writhe happy). There were, as there will regularly be, instances where Instant Replay could have and SHOULD have been used. England’s goal against Germany is numero uno for this.

Why this sours the World? We want them to get it right. Just like referees. This can be corrected.

Can it be fixed? Easily. International games of importance are televised. Most professional games are televised. Its not expensive to have goal cameras to see if the ball crosses the line. Simple as that. In most instances its not needed and will take less time than one of the dramatic flopper’s performances.

In some instances the defense for these things are “just part of the game”, but these are ways to improve a game. Remove some of the parts of the game that detract from it. These aren’t things that should be difficult to correct and would improve the game immensely in this soccer fan’s opinion. We’ll see where the World’s Game stands in 4 years when we are once again plagued with Cup Fever.