If you’re a trendy American you’ve probably been pretending to like soccer since a few months after everyone forgot that France won the World Cup in 98. Good for you! You obviously have a lot of culture and do other smart people things like dislike Garfield and use the metric system. Here’s the problem – there are a LOT of people out there who aren’t into it. They’re still eating non-organic vegetables, they think Rick Perry has a lot of fresh ideas that are worth trying, and they don’t like soccer. They may find the time to watch the three World Cup matches the US plays in before the team gets bored and goes sightseeing but that’s it. Soccer is so unpopular in America that it makes women’s soccer seem popular.
So how do we get them on board? They already sell beer at MLS games, the only safety equipment in the game protects exactly one of the players’ bones, and they don’t even stop the damn clock for penalties. There’s one thing ye olde football is missing – scoring. The players run up and down the field, offense strikes, defense defends, and after 90 minutes and change if you’re lucky enough not to end up with a tie you might see a team slug their way to the god-like sum of 3 goals. Why the perpetual stalemate? One asshole with a special shirt who gets to use his hands. Every time the defense gets beaten and the ball is sailing into the goal there he is, catching it in midair, drop-kicking it to midfield, and bringing half the wristwatches in the audience up to eye level.
America demands that the goalie be destroyed.
America hates defense. Its boring – they’re barely ever trying to score. The gold standard of NFL football teams, the New England Patriots, only fields a defense because the league rules say they have to. The goalie tips the balance too far in the defense’s favor. Even if they completely fail he can salvage the situation with all four limbs and bring the game to a standstill until he decides it’s time to foot-hurl the ball down the field. Take him out and the game is pure offense versus defense. “But what if they just put a guy in front of the goal?” Well unlike the disposed-of Goal Warden, that planted defenseman can’t use his hands. While you may feel like placing a pseudo-goalie at the end of the field, the other team may just put that body on offense, and he’s coming at your handless goalie.
But don’t despair! If your offense gets past their defense their goal is wide open – open enough for America’s Favorite Sports Thing, the long bomb. We’re talking scores from midfield. Every game. Precision long-distance strikes. Every major sport needs a long bomb. Baseball as the homerun, basketball has the three-point shot, and football he the…er…long bomb pass.
“Well this isn’t the futbol I know and love, guv’na,” I hear you exclaim because you’re some sort of European or South American. Well, you’re right, Gunter.
It’s not futbol. It’s soccer. Pledge allegiance.