This weekend Brandon Youth Soccer hosts its jamboree at various schools around the city.
The Optimist Soccer Park, much like the city golf course, is limping back to life. But all the fields just off First Street aren't ready for the action this weekend. Here's hoping next spring, games are back on that beautiful field, and once again drivers will be distracted by the thousands of kids playing "the beautiful game" in that great park.
But onward and upward, with games that continue today, and finals tomorrow.
The greatest single thing about soccer is its access to play, no matter what the age or economic status. In fact, the reason it is the most popular sport on the planet is because even in the poorest parts of Africa, where food is scarce, you can still see kids playing soccer with balls made of plastic wrapped onto plastic. Because in the end, you simply need a ball and something, anything to make goal posts. No fancy equipment, no ice time, no second mortgage on your home.
Soccer is a game for all, and that makes it great. But not perfect. And while it is fun to watch kids play this weekend, fun to watch professional soccer and fun to watch world cup and Euro tournaments, the game could use some "tweaking."
Let’s change the game of soccer from one of greatness, to a game of legend. If the international soccer federation takes my ideas seriously (and I'm sure they will) someday archeologists will discover a soccer ball and from 2012 and say "This was the year the game changed forever, from a game of greatness, to a game of legend."
I present, the 10 best ways to improve the game of soccer:@15.3.1 sat tab body copy:1) Body checking. Now before I get mail on this suggestion, I would say we treat it like hockey. I'm not talking about the little kids slamming each other into the dirt; I'm talking about the big kids. There's a certain age in hockey when the kids are allowed to start hitting and soccer should be the same. I did it in school. (I was tossed out of almost every game I played) But it worked. Just like checking takes them off the puck, a check into the mud gets you the ball. Equipment? They don't have it in rugby. Legalize body checking in soccer.
2) Power play. Midfield penalties should mean kids should be taken off the field and wear a dunce cap for two minutes. Since there is no penalty box, this tells spectators that this is the offender, and the remainder of the team plays with the man advantage. The "Ultimate Power Play" is what we could call it.
3) Hands, but only at centre. Why not incorporate some of the finesse of rugby into soccer? Use hands at mid-field, and even carry the ball. This, in addition to body checking could add to the spectator enjoyment of watching a regular game.
4) Substitutions on the fly. They do it in hockey and unless someone who touches the ball doesn’t give the replacement player a chance to leave the field (leaving the team with too many men) I can’t see why it would be a problem to implement this. There’s just too much stop/start for me. It’s not football. Keep the game going and keep the players running on and off the field constantly.
5) Head the ball or bump like volleyball. In addition to the new rule of being allowed to carry the ball, when the ball is flying through the air, why don’t players spike and bump and set the ball like volleyball? Soccer players are already showcasing fancy footwork, now they can show their volley skills and really put on a show.
6) Penalty shot should be moveable. Currently the penalty shot is taken from right in front of the goalie. Why don’t they start at mid field and try and deek out the goaltender like hockey? This gives the goalie a fighting chance, since most blasts from three feet in front of him go in.
7) Make it permissible to stand backwards during free kick. These poor boys with their hands covering their valuables is often difficult to watch. Not to mention a ball to the teeth hurts. Let them turn around completely and take the free kick that way. A ball to the backside can’t be any worse than spankings we used to get.
8) Goalie should wear a costume. In hockey the goalie wears a mask, and that’s cool. In soccer, let’s take it one step further and have the goaltender wear a costume. Chicken suit? No problem. Gorilla costume? Even better. It’s all about entertaining the spectators, while allowing goaltender the flexibility to do their jobs.
9) Put field goal posts on top of goalposts. So many kicks are nearly perfect, and they go OVER the goalposts. Let’s make it like football, and give the kids credit for putting it through the uprights. Let’s give them half a point. And let’s tape some hockey sticks to the goalposts that aren’t built for football field goals.
10) Instead of a throw in — ball cannon. Just like the Wheat Kings prize cannon, there are ball cannons available that shoot balls at incredible speed and velocity. Why not have a cannon on each sideline carried by the sideline official. When a ball goes out, the official hands the play the cannon with the gun and BOOM, they shoot the ball back into play. It would be legal to aim at other players. This would allow some room on the field as players scatter in anticipation of a ball to the mid section.
Now, it’s not like I want to make soccer more violent. It’s just that adding these rule changes make it more about the fans and less about the players. After all, isn’t it the fans that support the sport, and keep it alive? Just ask the Europeans fist-fighting in the stands next time you’re at a "football" match between two rival countries at the World Cup. Pass me the vuvuzela please.
- Shelbee L Anderson
- Terri Norman
- Mandi Riffel
- Sheryl McLean-Shule
- Melissa Chaske
- Judy Erskine Darvill
- Crystal Jacques-Munro
- Debbie Eshpeter McLelland
- Jo-Ann Holmstrom
- Terri Norman
- Julia Goolia
- Curtis Fleury
- Judy Erskine Darvill
- Dominic Gamache
Joke this Week
One day the animals got together for a party. They went to a nice bar and each ordered a favorite drink. They spent several pleasant hours drinking, laughing and telling jokes. Finally, the check was presented to them, and they all fell silent.
"Well, I can’t pay," said the duck. "All I have is one bill."
"Don't look at me, man," exclaimed the snake. "I only have one skin."
"I can't help," chirped the songbird. "My do-re-me is pretty low."
"One buck won't go very far," said the deer. "My doe is long gone."
"I can't hack it," complaimed the skunk. "All I have is a scent."
So it went around the table, each one explaining why he or she couldn't pay. Finally, it got to the giraffe. He looked around and sighed. "Well, I guess the highballs are on me."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 23, 2012