TAKING OVER THE WORLD'S GAME

Lance Zierlein: The World Cup and ugly Americans know how to "fix" soccer

Hey guys, let's fix soccer. Victor Araiza

Americans love them some America. Whatever we do is the best. Don’t believe it? Just ask us. We expect you to speak our language (even in your country) and many Americans would just as soon eat at a McDonalds abroad than than eating the local cuisine. I know, I know….not everyone is like that but there are enough to make that generalization and have it stick.

When it comes to sports, we are even worse. We rule and you suck because we have American football. We aren’t really into the World Baseball Classic like the Latin American countries and we barely even lift our heads when the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team ends up playing abroad - even in the Olympics. As a country, we tend to like things when they are on our terms when it comes to sports.

When it comes to the World Cup, there appears to be a growing number of American fans who are following matches irrespective of the lack of U.S. representation in the event. I’ve been all-in with the World Cup since 1998. I love the passion and I love the tension that builds during each match. I watch as many World Cup matches as a I can every four years and I wouldn’t change a thing, but you just know that there are a couple of Americans in a bar every night trying to make soccer “more watchable.”

“I KNOW WHAT WILL MAKE SOCCER BETTER”

Guy 1: Are you watching the soccer thing at all?

Guy 2: I’ve seen it when I flipped channels but it’s just too boring for me.

Guy 1: I’m the same way! There just isn’t enough scoring. If they had more scoring, I might watch.

Guy 2: What they need to do is add a 2 point line where if you make a goal from outside that line it counts as 2.

Guy 1: You nailed it! But I would also add a 3 point line too so teams have a chance to make a big comeback. How much more exciting would soccer be if guys were shooting goals from deep trying to make a 3?!

Guy 2: And they basically just play zone the whole time. Make them play man-to-man defense.

Guy 1: Also on the throw-ins I think they have to use two hands but you can’t throw it as far that way. They should allow people to just chunk it with one hand so they can throw it further down the field. Maybe you can make more fast breaks that way.

Guy 2: Oh, also all that flopping has to go. They should make it where if you get caught flopping you have to go to like a foul box or a penalty box for 5 minutes or more and the other teams gets to play with a an advantage. It would knock out flopping and we might get more scoring.

Guy 1: I hate that flopping and rolling around on the ground stuff. Unwatchable. If you act hurt then you have to stay out of the game for 10 minutes. That’s my rule. Those guys are wussies!

Guy 1: And they should allow them to set picks to get guys open. Way, way more scoring if they did that.

Guy 2: I was thinking about the 2 point and 3 point thing we talked about. I think we are going to have to make the goal bigger too.

Guy 1: Oh definitely. It looks super easy to keep the ball out of the net when I watch. Let’s make it harder by adding three feet on each side.

Guy 2: That’s a given. Every sport makes changes to make scoring easier and soccer needs to get on board if they want anyone to even watch that crap.

Guy 1: While I’m all for scoring, I also want to see more contact to toughen these guys up.

Guy 2: Are you talking about tackling?

Guy 1: Yes. I’m not saying have tackling all the time because that would keep the scoring low, but I want one guy to be the designated “hitter” and he can just lay people out once every ten minutes.

Guy 2: So that’s like 8 or 9 punishing hits every game then. That would be awesome! If they would do what we say, their sport would be so much better and I might even watch!

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome