Soccer: A Few Changes Will Make It More Popular in the United States

Zack Lessner@@ZLess1995Correspondent IIAugust 26, 2010

I'm not even a soccer fan. I don't follow soccer at all besides the World Cup.

But I do know that the game has potential to be popular in the U.S.

And I know what to do to make it happen.

Three of the main sports in the United States are football, basketball and baseball. What makes all of these sports popular? The ability to score many points in a small amount of time.

In other words, fans want to be excited for their teams at many different times during the games.

Fans like that if their team is down by two scores, they still have a chance of coming back. They like that at any time during the game, the advantage can swing from one team to another.

That is why soccer is unappealing in the U.S.

Because there is so little scoring in soccer, if a team is up by two goals, sometimes even one, then it is almost insurmountable to come back. And this needs to change.

No, I'm not saying that there should be some change in the way that a team scores, like the ability to use your hands. But there should be some minor changes that would make a major difference. These changes could make soccer even more popular around the world than it already is.

First off, the soccer field is way too big. 100 meters to be running back and forth not being in any serious scoring threat until the final 18 meters at each end is ridiculous.

FIFA needs to condense the field to 80 meters, even 90 would do, to create more opportunities where the ball is near the net.

Second, there are way too many players on the pitch at once. Have you seen all those people going for the ball during corner kicks? The box is so crowded that there is no way a kick at the top of the box would be able to go through all those people into the goal.

And there are way too few substitutions allowed. FIFA needs to limit the number of players on the field to eight or nine, and allow more substitutions, so the players won't get too tired.

This way there can be more open lanes for shots, and more fresh players can be playing.

Third, FIFA needs to eliminate all ties. A team needs to either win the game or lose it. Fans are not satisfied with that vague of a result.

Hockey used to have ties, but after their strike season in 2004-05, they eliminated ties so that there would be more interested in the sport.

Fourth, what is up with the running clock? Fans want to know exactly how much time is left for their team, and adding extra minutes at the end of the game for delayed time doesn’t make any sense.

How about every time the ball goes out of bounds or somebody gets "hurt (don't even get me started with all the fake injuries)," then the clock stops and then continues again after play starts again. Then, everybody will know exactly how much time there is left.

Finally, penalty kicks should not be used to finalize a game. Can you imagine the winner of the World Series being decided by a home run derby, or the NBA finals by a three point contest?

Penalty kicks not only don't have anything to do with the actual soccer game, but they only use a team's five best players and their goalie. Last time I checked, soccer has more than five players on a team that contribute to the team's success.

The players need to play until someone actually scores to break the draw, and then we will know the real winners. The team with the most endurance and heart will show, and fans like that.