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What Is It About Soccer?
by Dale Brown, [IMAGE]2014


[MEGAFORTRESS.COM image] Serving as a judge at the recent Mrs. California-America pageant in Palm Springs, I toyed with the incredibly lovely finalists by implying that I would ask a question about global geopolitics and military options in eastern Europe and the South China Sea--and then instead I asked the contestant about America's problem with soccer. The World Cup is going on right now; the U.S. is doing well; it's the biggest sports tournament in the world. It's a relevant question, no?

Maybe I should have stuck with the geopolitical question. I thought "soccer" would have been a softball topic: I guess I was big-time wrong.

Even though you need a timer to start and stop a soccer match, soccer is the perfect game. If the match starts at 1100, it WILL end at or before 1300. A baseball or football game that starts at 1100 might end at 1500 or later--it's unknown. Soccer has ONE referee, who runs the entire pitch and plays the entire match. He has two assistants (3 in national-class matches) but the center ref is the one and only authority and timekeeper in a match. Dissent against a referee in soccer is cause for an infraction at best and dismissal at worst.

Soccer is 45 minutes of non-stop action per half, and I think that's where the American deficiency come in: where can you put the commercials and advertisements? Unless you put ads and logos on the players and the pitch, there is no room for ads in soccer. The World Cup has 5 minutes of commentary and 25 minutes of ads before each match on ESPN--they have to do that, because happily there are no ads during the match.

I don't know if soccer will ever catch on in the U.S. like baseball and football. Most soccer matches end in very low scores, and that's disappointing for American spectators. Few Americans know the laws of the game of soccer, although the Laws of the Game are a mere 39 pages and are pretty simple to understand.

Soccer is the world's biggest sporting event--just not in the U.S. I hope that changes, and we will begin to build soccer stadiums as much as we build baseball and football stadiums, or at least don't try to combine soccer and football fields as we do now (I'd hate to officiate a soccer match on a football field).

Sorry, Mrs. California. I tried to be cute, but I may have thrown you a curve-ball--or, I should say, a bender--instead.

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