Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 Rules Changes to Enhance MLS

Amendments are meant to assist the shortcomings that have followed the game under FIFA's watch.

FIFA has been slow to evolve.  This is not anything new and just about anyone would agree.

American sports fans have high demands for their sports and they insist on common sense and the best possible drama in every match.

Ten (10) Proposed Rule Amendments/Changes for Professional Soccer:

I. Each 45-Minute Half counts down to 0 seconds:
a. Games may result in a tie.
b. Games played in overtime are decided by first goal scored (Golden Goal).
c. Overtime is considered 15-minutes of continuous play after the end of regulation.

II. 4 Time-breaks per half:  90-seconds each:
a. First stoppage of play under 40 minutes (Stoppage of play is considered any blown whistle by referee or any ball out of bounds).
b. First Stoppage of play under 30 minutes.
c. First Stoppage of play under 20 minutes.
d. First Stoppage of play under 10 minutes.

III. Besides time-breaks, the clock runs continuously except under 4 conditions;
a. When either team scores a goal.
b. When a player receives a Red card.
c. When a player is injured and must receive care on the field or player voluntarily asks to be removed from the game.
d. From the 2-Minute Mark before either half ends, the clock will stop for any blown whistle or ball out of bounds and start back counting down to 0-seconds after ball comes back into play.

IV. Substituting players is permissible;
a. Players may be substituted for during any timeout or at the end of a half or overtime.
b. Players may re-enter the game as many times as needed by their respective team.
c. A player that is injured on the field during game action and must receive care on the field must be substituted for immediately.
d. The only time an injured player is allowed to re-enter a game is if the injury happened in the first half;  The player re-enters only for the second half after the under 20-minute mark.
e. A player who receives a Red card must leave the game immediately and must be substituted for immediately.  A Penalty Kick should take place for team suffering heinous foul.  Also, the penalty for a player who receives a Red card will be issued by league administration after the game is completed.  League officials will determine the length of suspension depending on the severity of the foul.  Also, suspension will result in loss of pay for player.

V. 2 Instant Replay Challenges per game allowed for each team, 1 Challenge per half;
a. Challenges may include; Calls by referees inside the penalty box or non-calls by referees inside the penalty box, corners or throw-ins, off-sides or on-sides, whether a goal is scored or not and for disputed calls on possession (which player did the ball touch last before going out of bounds). 
b. Challenges will be reviewed by officials in a replay booth and the call on the field will either be rendered as unchanged or changed to the correct call.
c. Teams may retain their challenge if a challenged was determined to be the correct call.
d. Teams are given an additional challenge for an overtime period.

VI. Rule Changes for Goalkeepers;
a. Goalkeepers are not allowed to gather the Soccer Ball with their hands and punt the ball (punting is dropping the ball from the air and kicking or booting the ball while it is in the air or after a quick bounce). A punted ball results in a penalty kick for opposing team.
b. Goalkeepers must throw the ball back into action after any handling of the ball with their hands.
c. If Goalkeepers handle the ball with their hands, they are only permitted
4 steps in any direction before they throw the ball back into action.

VII. Additional Referee to assist in monitoring fouls and fair play;
a. 2 Referees will consistently watch live action by positioning themselves inside the field of play.  Thus, with 1 Referee calling the action on each sideline, a total of 4 Referees are engaged to manage play during the entire game.

VIII. Changes in the dimensions of the Goalpost and Markings on the field;
a. Standard Goalpost will be raised from 8 feet by the length of 2 Soccer balls (height of Goalpost will equal between 9 1/2 and 10 feet high).
b. Standard Goalpost will be widened by one foot from 24 feet to 25 feet wide.
c. Both the standard boxed rectangular goal Line six yards by 12 yards from end-line near goal and standard boxed rectangular penalty Line 18 yards by 44 yards from end-line near goal will be removed as Sight Lines for field of play (Out of bounds balls by offense past the end line will be kicked back into play by opposing team from where the ball exited the end line).
d. New Sight Line for Goalkeeper/Penalty area is defined by a Semi-circle that has a radius of 22 yards (the 22 yard radius begins its measurement from the center point of the goal-line exactly halfway between the goalposts).
e. A new mark of 15 yards will replace the 12 yards mark for Penalty-kicks.

IX. Changes to the Offside Rule and New Field Markings;
a. It is hereby understood that the 4 Dashed Lines of Field Markings that run horizontally crossing the field along through the Apex of the semicircular Goalkeeper/Penalty area on each side of the field are referred to as the Onside Line(s).
b. Offside rule will maintain its intent for all aspects of the field of play except under certain conditions when the ball enters beyond the Onside Line.
c. Changes to the Offside Rule apply when a team is on offense and the player controlling the ball travels with the ball beyond the Onside Line.
d. Players while on offense controlling the ball may make passes to teammates at will after entering beyond the Onside Line.
e. If the ball travels back in the other direction over the Onside Line towards mid-field, then the Offside Rule reapplies.
f. 2 of the 4 Dashed Field Markings making up the Onside Line will be attached to the Side-end touch lines, and the other 2 will be marked halfway between the Apex of the Goalkeeper/Penalty area and the Side-end touch lines.
g. The Onside Line(s) is 22 yards from the End/Goal lines.

X. 2-Point Goal;
a. Any goal scored by player from outside the Semi-circle Goalkeeper/Penalty area will be counted as 2 points towards the overall score for the game.
b. Goal must be scored directly by player without the ball touching any other player positioned inside the Goalkeeper/Penalty area to be considered for 2 points.
c. Goal is considered 2 points if on its way to scoring it touches another position player from either team situated outside the Goalkeeper/Penalty area.

Originally Posted August/2011


  1. Soccer was already Americanized, it's called (gridiron) football.

  2. Fix American footbal first before trying to turn soccer into American football.

    1. First, American Football is nothing like soccer, so don't even try to pretend that that's what we would turn soccer into. Second, that's quite casual statement. What would you like fixed in American Football?

  3. I dig the offside line, it's similar to hockey and the blue line and international rink which, if I am not mistaken, is pretty popular over in that continent cross the Atlantic. I like the goalie rule, clock should only stop for goals and red cards, goal thing is not necessary.

    I enjoy the idea of changing soccer and MLS has the 10 yard spray line for a free kick, which is beyond me that other leagues don't use it.
    Goalies need a time limit and another ref (or goal line officials which have been discussed ad nauseam over the years) is responsible for time keeping. This would alleviate any issues with time wasting and an indirect free kick is the result if the keeper violates 4 steps or, say, an 8 second time limit.
    No on the fly subs, the rule is great the way it is, no reason to convolute it further. They already have it in hockey and indoor soccer. I dig the overall tone of the article, thought provoking.

  4. Is this satire? These are the worst suggestions for "improving" the sport of soccer I have ever seen. The ONLY one I might consider is a 15-minute Golden Goal overtime to settle draws. But guess what? MLS already had a 10-minute Golden Goal rule (c. 2000 - 2003 season) and got rid of it. MLS has been slowly evolving toward a more international standard, and because of that the league has become MORE popular. The fans (me included) want to have the genuine article, not some mutated, "Americanized", travesty of a sport. .... I would ask: how many MLS matches have you been to? Once you become a regular attendee, you'll realize that it does not need to change. The only American convention that MLS has been forced to concede is the league structure: Western and Eastern Conferences and a geographically-weighted schedule.

    1. I second Midfielder.

    2. I third midfielder. You guys are crazy. Do you actually think anyone who knows anything about the game of soccer would take the suggestions seriously?

  5. ... And I'm not even a hardcore soccer purist or Euro-snob either! Some MLS fans want to play a totally balanced schedule (as in the 2010 and 2011 seasons), get rid of the playoffs completely, institute a system of promotion and relgation with NASL and USL-Pro, and go to a fall-winter-spring schedule. These are mostly unworkable ideas. The reason that they can play balanced schedules in places like England and Spain is purely geographical: they are tiny countries compared to the United States & Canada. Now that we have 19 teams in MLS, a Conference-weighted schedule becomes inevitable, and thus internal playoffs a necessity. But you really don't need to do anything to to "improve" the sport of soccer. Here is the real fact of the matter: Soccer as it is now, is the MOST EXCITING team sport in the world. ... I can honestly say so after attending 60-odd MLS matches and a handful of international soccer matches.

    1. Yes because having games in Chicago, Columbus, New York, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver in the middle of the winter is a great idea. Plus getting to compete with NFL, NBA, and NHL.

    2. Rob, you have football games in 3 of those places (counting the Jets and Giants stadium in New York) already. Plus, the weather is as bad or wost in England, which has arguably the best league int he world for soccer, during these 3 seasons, and they play through it all. Also, the support for the NBA and NHL is embarrassing to the level that the shouldn't even cal themselves professional sports. Soccer is the fastest growing sport in America. The real problem is venues, places to play. Popularity will rise with changes to the league that make is similar to the leagues around the world.

  6. Turkey calls FIFA & UEFA to action: We want justice in football!

  7. There's no chance the IFAB approves these. None at all. We're still waiting on goalline replays/technology.

    So if you stick these in US soccer .... well, then our players won't be playing the same as the rest of the world, meaning we suffer at the international level. It'd be like when we tried to use indoor players in outdoor games. They didn't have the stamina to go 90 minutes because they were adapted to the indoor game's frequent substitutions and smaller field.

    As for me, I'd stop watching the domestic game, and stick with the European and Latin American leagues.

  8. Soccer is hidebound and boring. Not enough scoring. Add uprights and change the scoring. Make an "over" through he uprights worth 3 and an "under" in the net worth 6, plus give a 1-point conversion. Put in the "Penalty Box" for Red Cards, give a 6 to 12 minute "Power Play to the other team, then let the offending player back on, or let him be substituted. I like the idea of making the goals bigger. I also like the idea of the "Offside Line" The idea of limiting the Goalie's use of hands and not allowing a Goalie Punt is stupid and slows the game down. I would even like to see limited one-hand "traps" and punt-kicking by field players on the offense. I see no reason why Soccer cannot or should not evolve or mutate into more exciting spectator-friendly forms. Maybe they don't supplant traditional Football, but compete with it in different spheres.

  9. The Throw-in rule for an out-of bounds ball is stupid too. It's called FOOTball for a reason, no? If you allowed a spot-kick on every throw-in you could have a lot more exciting set-piece scoring opportunities in every game. Make each team line up with one foot on the outer lateral line of the penalty box until the ball crosses over. The 2-point goal is stupid. It's almost easier to score with a lucky slop-shot from outside the penalty area as it is to work the ball through. Uprights. 6-3-1 scoring. That's the ticket. Golden Goal is really the only solution to overtime. I wouldn't change the field markings. I totally support the idea of evolving the game.

  10. 2 rule changes most important to me:

    1) Clock stoppage as you mention. It is so frustrating to see players stalling of feigning injuries. Yes injury time is added but it is too vague and often isnt enough time added compared to the time lost. Stop clock at every dead ball for the last 5 minutes of each half and for every injury.

    2) Impose flopping penalties by reviewing post game tape. This can be tricky but any obvious flop should be penalized by fees and yellow or red's the ugliest part of a beautiful game.

  11. Again, I concur with the idea that soccer as it now exists is in dire need of improvement. In the early days of football, there was no set code of rules. Rules were agreed on before every game and variation existed among the different clubs at every level. Now, the FA game could easily co-exist with other codes. I even think that a league that allowed variations within a code would be interesting. Bottom line, if soccer stays its old, boring hidebound self, it will stagnate and shrivel. Obvious changes include scoring, set piece plays, pads and equipment. At some point a superior product will emerge.

  12. hey i got an idea for you, the game is perfect as it is, you don't like it don't watch it.

    1. Hey I got an idea for you. He's proposing a new version of the game. If you don't like it, do watch it.

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  14. Why would you try to corrupt the game with these shit ideas? Go watch American football or rugby if you want something more exciting. If you don't like football how it is then don't watch it.

  15. The "If you don't like it, don't watch it" argument is both completely valid and completely vapid. Of course "Football/Soccer" will always exist in more or less the form it's now in. But that's no reason to stop evolution. If Homo-Erectus had said "hey, let's stop evolving" we would all be hunting and gathering in small tribal groups and wearing the hair-shirt. There is no reason that a more high-scoring, high drama version of Soccer should not evolve and compete for fan loyalty. Look at the examples of Australian Rules and GAA. Those are both wildly popular and compete directly with the FA Code. Look at the CFL / Canadian Rules, they create an awesomely entertaining alternative brand to the NFL and do not "bastardize" or dilute the "sacred purity" of the game. I posit that there is an acute SHORTAGE of Football in the world. Someone could easily address it with a superior product. Perhaps I shall.

  16. Few problems with the idea, clocks did count down when the mls first started. Also there was a six step rule for goalies, it was done away with cause it is trifliling. Do you think your rules are new? I have seen, indoor soccer uses some of these rules, a lot of your ideas. Also hear for years, but the problem is we don't develope top tier talent, and certainly can't coach the talent we have on the mens side. You want excitement from the US side convince kids that 500k in mls is better than the multi millions in the big 4.

  17. While I think the game definitely needs to make some changes I think your suggestions are a bit too drastic.
    I would suggest simpler changes such as increasing the amount of substitutions teams are allowed to make.

    I would double the subs from 3 to 6. It would be 4 substitutes for 90 minutes and 2 additional subs if the game goes into overtime.

    I would also add refs behind the goalie and institute some sort of goal line technology.

    In order to get rid of obnoxious dives I would implement a system where players are retroactively fined and given yellow cards for blatant dives. By retroactively I mean the games will be reviewed and players will be fined or carded accordingly.

    I would also limit flops and fake injuries in the game by instituting a 10 count similar to boxing. If a player is on the ground the ref should count to ten, if the player cant stand up after the ten count he will be automatically sent to the sideline to be checked for injury. The player must then wait 2 minutes before he is allowed to return.

    I would also implement a challenge system similar to the NFL, but I would limit it to one challenge per game and it would only be for plays where goals are scored, red/yellow cards, off-sides decisions, and corner/goal-kick decisions. The coach would have to use a substitution as collateral, this will help avoid abuse of the system. If the coach is correct he will keep his substitute, if he is wrong he will forfeit his substitute.

    Finally this rule change is for people that dont like penalty kicks to finish games. Instead of five pk's teams will take five corner kicks. It will be similar to pk's just with corners. The play will stop either after a team scores or after the ball goes out of bounds. For this the half line will be considered out of bounds.

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  19. The most obvious solution, but also the most radical, is to change the number of players per team from eleven to ten. You create more room to breathe and the number of scoring chances should increase.

  20. This is the single most ridiculous idea I have ever seen across any sport!
    How about changing all the NFL rules so that its easier for the rest of the world to watch?
    Shorter games, maybe a round ball?

  21. I think that one obstacle to progress here is the idea of "changing the Sport" versus the idea of "evolving" a new sport to compete with the FA code. Obviously the FA/FIFA code is going to continue to exist in more or less the same form as it is now. I say evolve a new code to compete with it and let the best game win. If the FA/FIFA code is really superior, then why would you purist die-hards be afraid of a little competition?

  22. You can do all these things.

    It just wouldn't be the sport you're trying to "improve." It would be some new sport.

    I don't know if you've noticed - come to think of it, you haven't, obviously - but outdoor club soccer in this country has increased in popularity as it has moved CLOSER to - not farther away from - the generally-accepted "world standard."

    "Americanizing" the game, as if this is 1994 and you think you have to appeal to people who don't like soccer because you don't think there are enough people who are, is ridiculous.

    Every single thought you have in your mind is wrong.

  23. There may be an American market for a NEW type of sport as described here. However, world football is beautiful as it is, although it could do with a few tweaks. I like the approach described at My two cents.

  24. I'm a fairly new soccer fan who thinks a LOT of things need Americanized in the game, and even I think most of these are stupid, lol.

  25. When it comes to arguing about soccer rules, there seems to be 2 distinct sides. The hardcore fan sees the game as 100% tradition, and refuses to listen to any sort of logic when it comes to problems with the game. However, there's just as much problem on the other side, as the casual fan sees the game 100% logically, and refuses to listen to any of the established traditions that make the game beautiful. Our problem is that everyone always falls into one of these categories, and no one seems to fall somewhere in the middle, where they can listen to logic, but be careful not to upset the game's traditions. I feel like I somewhat fall into that category, and wish others would too.

    Regarding these rule changes, I only agree with a few of them. The game's timing, breaking ties, substitutions, and the offside rule are really the only rules that even need looked at, but the solutions listed here are way too extreme, and at times plain stupid. There are better solutions for some of these problems.

    Regarding other rules, we really don't need to change the dimensions of the field or add referees, and restricting the goalkeepers from punting the ball seems really random and pointless to me. Stopping the game for a break every 10 minutes would do nothing but make the game boring and break up its flow, and the 2-point goal... just no, lol.

    Are most of these rule suggestions bad? Yes. However, rather than just dismiss them, understand why they're being suggested and see if you can offer some sort of compromise. If you're on the other side, rather than scoff at them being rejected, watch a few more matches and get a sense of the game's flow, and you'll immediately see why most of these solutions don't work.

  26. Run the ideas by FIFA. If they don't approve it, it's not soccer (or football or whatever). FIFA laws are how soccer is played.

    I have no problem with the NBA telling FIBA to kick rocks because basketball is still our sport by and large. But we shouldn't be changing soccer's rules in our second rate pro soccer league to fit Americans' sensibilities. If you want to change the rules, take it to FIFA. Otherwise, cultivate an appreciation for the sport as the rest of the world plays it.

    1. You're putting a little too much faith in FIFA, in my opinion. Let's not forget that the I stands for International. They should be in charge of anything international, and when we play internationally, we should play by international rules. However, in our domestic leagues, they should have no right to say what we can or can not do. That being said, I only agree with a few of the rules listed above, however, when FIFA doesn't even let us experiment to try and evolve the sport, that's ridiculous.

  27. I dont know how long it took u to come up with these amendments, but there are only 2 things i want to say. Firstly, good on u for having ideas. Secondly, WTF?!?!
    Why over-complicate a simple game? If u want to see high-scoring, end-to-end excitement in the form of a soccer ball, i suggest u watch a game of FUTSAL. That would prolly be more your bag