HOW TO FIX SOCCER—A GUIDE FOR AMERICANS. A friend of mine used to tease—to devastating effect—a soccer fan we both knew. Imagine an American teasing a European who keeps talking about the “beautiful game.” My friend would start with the position that soccer could be a good game if they made a few changes. First, they should make it easier to score. (In the preliminary rounds of the World Cup, the teams averaged 2.1 goals per game—or about one goal apiece.) The score of a typical game ought to be something like 3 to 2 or 4 to 3. One obvious way to increase scoring is make the nets a lot bigger. Second, soccer should take some lessons from hockey in terms of more flexible penalties. A red card almost decides a game by making one team play one player short for the rest of the game. Hockey principles would let the referee send a player off for five or ten or thirty minutes. Finally, get rid of the dives, by penalizing them more severely. Rolling around on the ground when you are obviously not hurt just embarrasses everybody. This last argument is sure fire. Soccer lovers are very sensitive about dives.

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