In reply to Alex Mitchell’s editorial, “MLS must change for US fans to care.”
I think your idea of change the very basis of soccer is a great way to get more Americans involved in the game. I think it’s a very modern and realistic approach to the situation and furthermore it’s an approach that can be applied to many different sports.
Take golf for example. Golf is an extremely boring and tedious game. How often are we bombarded with images of Father falling asleep in front of a televised golf game? The PGA needs to change the game to allow players to finish sooner.
There is a simple way to increase speed: increase the amount of obstacles on the course (and perhaps some more fun ones than just sand, water, trees, and longer grass; maybe something like a ramp?) and decrease the size of the course (about 10 to 15 yards should be an acceptable length).
These changes will produce shorter rounds and make the game more exciting for the American fan.
And why stop at just the horrendous mess that is modern golf? We can apply your ideas to a multitude of other sports: baseball (shorter outfields would make home runs much easier), basketball (lower baskets would mean higher chances of dunks), and football (less players on each team making sacks and break-away touchdowns occur more often).
It is also important to note that these changes must occur in the immediate future. The American fan has a notoriously short attention span (Do you remember who won the last Super Bowl? Me neither.) and a smaller brain making it harder to comprehend the aesthetics of a game apart from points on a scoreboard.
Once again, I applaud your efforts to adapt an outdated, and frankly internationally unloved, game to the 21st century. I look forward to many of your brilliant editorials in the future.
Someone should let the sports editor know how wrong he is about the changes that need to be made to MLS in America. He states that the real problem for most American sports fans is that soccer is low scoring, and to fix this the fields should be made smaller and the goals to be made bigger.
This may perhaps lead to more scoring, but to be honest, the fields in MLS are already quite a bit smaller than most fields in Europe which average 125 yards long by 75 yards wide. The bigger fields open the games up for better passing, more room for tactical play and better soccer in general.
If you stifle the players by limiting the space then they cannot express themselves on the field, and the game devolves into chaos. I know this because I have seen MLS matches played on fields that are already too small compared to some matches on fields that are large enough. It is astounding the difference it makes in the quality of the match.
Also, the MLS is not the key to making soccer big in America. The key is that kids keep getting involved in the youth system and increasing the exposure of the English and Spanish leagues. Those are the two most exciting leagues to watch.
MLS will never be as exciting because there is no battle for staying in the league as teams cannot be relegated and teams cannot win the league by being top of the table at the end of the season, but they must go through a stupid tournament that favors the in form team rather than the one that has performed best all season long. MLS also lacks the funds to afford certain players, not to mention there is no transfer market in the MLS like in the rest of the world. You cannot simply buy players like you could in England or Spain or Italy or Germany. MLS is too Americanized to be a big league in the foreseeable future.
Soccer will be big in America. It already is gaining way more popularity than it had when we hosted the world cup in 1994. Hopefully we can even get it in 2018 or 2022.