The Judgment-Free Soccer Questions Thread

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
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Sep 9, 2008
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Point of clarification on the NFL, I am pretty sure there is a rule that if you do something like this twice in a row the ref can award a TD or something like that. I forget the exact rule. @CFB_Rules ?
Interesting. I know that you can award a field goal if a player blocks the ball from going through the goal if the ref believes it would have gone through. (Kind of similar to the Suarez situation.) And I also think they can award a score if someone comes off the bench to tackle an end zone bound player. But I didn't know about the two fouls in a row rule. I think that's a good rule.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
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Jul 15, 2005
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Interesting. I know that you can award a field goal if a player blocks the ball from going through the goal if the ref believes it would have gone through. (Kind of similar to the Suarez situation.) And I also think they can award a score if someone comes off the bench to tackle an end zone bound player. But I didn't know about the two fouls in a row rule. I think that's a good rule.
I was wrong. No auto TD. This appears to be the rule

The official rule states: A team may not commit multiple fouls during the same down in an attempt to manipulate the game clock. The penalty for a violation is 15 yards. The game clock will also be reset to where it had been prior to the previous snap.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
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Sep 9, 2008
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I was wrong. No auto TD. This appears to be the rule

The official rule states: A team may not commit multiple fouls during the same down in an attempt to manipulate the game clock. The penalty for a violation is 15 yards. The game clock will also be reset to where it had been prior to the previous snap.
Ahh -- resetting the game clock is enough I think. That's a good rule I think.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
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View: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=10154777620797573


40 seconds in Philip Neville does the exact same thing as Suarez, denying a stoppage time winning goal by blatantly using his hands.

Nobody cared or threw a fit because
- Philip Neville is not Luis Suarez.
- Liverpool made the penalty and Everton lost anyways.
Or,
- it was in a regular league game (if a Derby)
- it wasn’t on worldwide television
- Luis Suarez wasn’t Luis Suarez yet
- it wasn’t the freaking World Cup

still , I get your point. Not unprecedented
 
Last edited:

SoxFanInCali

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California. Duh.
Or,
- it was in a regular league game (if a Derby)
- it wasn’t on worldwide television
- Luis Suarez wasn’t Luis Suarez yet
- it wasn’t the freaking World Cup
While it wasn't as watched as the World Cup, the Merseyside Derby is still seen pretty extensively around the world. But if you think the act is a horrible example of sportsmanship, then does the scale of the game matter?

The point is that the exact commentators and media members that said Neville made a smart play were among those that vilified Suarez. Not the first time that the actions of an English player were looked at much differently than that of one from elsewhere.

And yes, Suarez wasn't Suarez yet, but I think you'd agree that the player he developed into and the controversies along the way are a big reason why this is still being discussed outside Ghana so passionately 12 years later. As an American, I'm still mad at Torsten Frings from 2002 (and he got away with it without a penalty or card!) but how many other people care today?
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Mar 26, 2005
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Point of clarification on the NFL, I am pretty sure there is a rule that if you do something like this twice in a row the ref can award a TD or something like that. I forget the exact rule. @CFB_Rules ?
Wikipedia calls it the "Unfair Act" rule: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_act.

One thing I remembered from that article - in 1954 Cotton Bowl, an Alabama player named Tommy Lewis entered the field and tackled Dicky Moegle from Rice. Rice was awarded a TD. The only reason I remember this story is because a got a book when I was a kid that broke down controversial sports events using camera evidence (I think it was by Bud Greenspan) and this was one of the stories in the book.
 

Mighty Joe Young

The North remembers
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Sep 14, 2002
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While it wasn't as watched as the World Cup, the Merseyside Derby is still seen pretty extensively around the world. But if you think the act is a horrible example of sportsmanship, then does the scale of the game matter?

The point is that the exact commentators and media members that said Neville made a smart play were among those that vilified Suarez. Not the first time that the actions of an English player were looked at much differently than that of one from elsewhere.

And yes, Suarez wasn't Suarez yet, but I think you'd agree that the player he developed into and the controversies along the way are a big reason why this is still being discussed outside Ghana so passionately 12 years later. As an American, I'm still mad at Torsten Frings from 2002 (and he got away with it without a penalty or card!) but how many other people care today?
Agree that the stage and the character and nationality of the villain of the piece played a major part. Especially as the years go by. As you know, I’m a Liverpool fan but I didn’t know about that incident. Predated the arrival of the EPL on Canadian cable. (Or extensive coverage anyways). Im actually kind of amazed It was new to me. Phil Nevin was a dick too lol.
 

StupendousMan

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Jul 20, 2005
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This has been an interesting discussion. I appreciate all the different points of view different posters are providing, and I understand fully that many of us will come to different conclusions. That's fine.

My own opinion is colored by two thoughts, neither of which applies to professional sports, I guess.

a) I'm a university professor. When I think about "breaking the rules to gain an advantage in sports,"
my mind jumps to "breaking the rules to gain an advantage in school." Some students _do_
cheat on tests and homework, of course. I take a dim view of this. There are vaguely defined
penalties for being caught, of course, but I believe that most students who cheat aren't caught.

Should I compliment them on getting away with it? Should I _encourage_ my students to cheat,
so that their GPA goes up and they get better jobs?

b) I don't have kids, so this is entirely a hypothetical. But I do like sports, played them through elementary
and high school, and nearly ended up coaching a HS volleyball team at one point. I was brought up
to value sportsmanship, and my father emphasized fair play over all else. I absolutely could not
tell players on a team I was coaching to break the rules, intentionally, to win a game. I'd rather quit
and walk away.

I understand completely that youth sports and professional sports are different, and I wouldn't
expect (most) professional athletes to have the same mindset. Fine. I wonder when people
with different opinions would say that coaches should switch from mandating fair play
to training their players to break the rules. During competitive high-school leagues? In college?
Once a player is being paid?

I'm pretty sure I'm an outlier here, and I don't expect others to agree with my point of view. But I would like to listen to their explanations of the circumstances under which we ought to teach our children/players to ignore or bend or break the rules.
 

candylandriots

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Wikipedia calls it the "Unfair Act" rule: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfair_act.

One thing I remembered from that article - in 1954 Cotton Bowl, an Alabama player named Tommy Lewis entered the field and tackled Dicky Moegle from Rice. Rice was awarded a TD. The only reason I remember this story is because a got a book when I was a kid that broke down controversial sports events using camera evidence (I think it was by Bud Greenspan) and this was one of the stories in the book.
Was it “Strange But True Football Stories”? Man, I haven’t thought of that book in at least 40 years.

View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strange-True-Football-Stories-Library/dp/0394801989
 

singaporesoxfan

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While it wasn't as watched as the World Cup, the Merseyside Derby is still seen pretty extensively around the world. But if you think the act is a horrible example of sportsmanship, then does the scale of the game matter?

The point is that the exact commentators and media members that said Neville made a smart play were among those that vilified Suarez. Not the first time that the actions of an English player were looked at much differently than that of one from elsewhere.

And yes, Suarez wasn't Suarez yet, but I think you'd agree that the player he developed into and the controversies along the way are a big reason why this is still being discussed outside Ghana so passionately 12 years later. As an American, I'm still mad at Torsten Frings from 2002 (and he got away with it without a penalty or card!) but how many other people care today?
Yeah as an Everton fan I can’t believe I’m defending Suarez but I definitely think a lot of the lingering controversy is tied to Suarez’s beyond-a-doubt unsportsmanlike acts later. Otherwise what he did was very much punished according to the laws of the game, and I find it impossible to believe that the IFAB officials who added the deliberate handball punishment rule in 1991 were unaware of such a situation being a possibility: they specifically said that a player who committed a handling offence that denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, as Suarez did, should be sent off for serious foul play. Which he was. It was *precisely* the situation that the rule was made for, only that the resolution was unsatisfying because Ghana couldn’t make their penalty.

The correct analogy to kids stealing candy is not one in which the kids got away with it: it’s one where they were caught and punished exactly as the law said they should be, but people were unhappy because this was seen as a particularly bad case of candy theft.
 

biff_hardbody

New Member
Apr 27, 2016
324
This has been an interesting discussion. I appreciate all the different points of view different posters are providing, and I understand fully that many of us will come to different conclusions. That's fine.

My own opinion is colored by two thoughts, neither of which applies to professional sports, I guess.

a) I'm a university professor. When I think about "breaking the rules to gain an advantage in sports,"
my mind jumps to "breaking the rules to gain an advantage in school." Some students _do_
cheat on tests and homework, of course. I take a dim view of this. There are vaguely defined
penalties for being caught, of course, but I believe that most students who cheat aren't caught.

Should I compliment them on getting away with it? Should I _encourage_ my students to cheat,
so that their GPA goes up and they get better jobs?

b) I don't have kids, so this is entirely a hypothetical. But I do like sports, played them through elementary
and high school, and nearly ended up coaching a HS volleyball team at one point. I was brought up
to value sportsmanship, and my father emphasized fair play over all else. I absolutely could not
tell players on a team I was coaching to break the rules, intentionally, to win a game. I'd rather quit
and walk away.

I understand completely that youth sports and professional sports are different, and I wouldn't
expect (most) professional athletes to have the same mindset. Fine. I wonder when people
with different opinions would say that coaches should switch from mandating fair play
to training their players to break the rules. During competitive high-school leagues? In college?
Once a player is being paid?

I'm pretty sure I'm an outlier here, and I don't expect others to agree with my point of view. But I would like to listen to their explanations of the circumstances under which we ought to teach our children/players to ignore or bend or break the rules.
In your opinion, does the Suarez play reach a level of “breaking the rules to gain an advantage” as you would view it in the academic context? When I think of "breaking the rules to get ahead" in academics, I am thinking a lot more along of lines of steroids and banging trash cans (deceptive, creating an unequal playing field) than I am intentionally playing a handball at the goal line to prevent a goal.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
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Sep 27, 2016
23,213
Pittsburgh, PA
We need an ethicist in here to structure the conversation and ensure we're not all talking past each other. Normally that would mean we need to summon the @Reverend for a referral, he's like the Guy Guy of SoSH.
 

singaporesoxfan

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Jul 21, 2004
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This has been an interesting discussion. I appreciate all the different points of view different posters are providing, and I understand fully that many of us will come to different conclusions. That's fine.

My own opinion is colored by two thoughts, neither of which applies to professional sports, I guess.

a) I'm a university professor. When I think about "breaking the rules to gain an advantage in sports,"
my mind jumps to "breaking the rules to gain an advantage in school." Some students _do_
cheat on tests and homework, of course. I take a dim view of this. There are vaguely defined
penalties for being caught, of course, but I believe that most students who cheat aren't caught.

Should I compliment them on getting away with it? Should I _encourage_ my students to cheat,
so that their GPA goes up and they get better jobs?

b) I don't have kids, so this is entirely a hypothetical. But I do like sports, played them through elementary
and high school, and nearly ended up coaching a HS volleyball team at one point. I was brought up
to value sportsmanship, and my father emphasized fair play over all else. I absolutely could not
tell players on a team I was coaching to break the rules, intentionally, to win a game. I'd rather quit
and walk away.

I understand completely that youth sports and professional sports are different, and I wouldn't
expect (most) professional athletes to have the same mindset. Fine. I wonder when people
with different opinions would say that coaches should switch from mandating fair play
to training their players to break the rules. During competitive high-school leagues? In college?
Once a player is being paid?

I'm pretty sure I'm an outlier here, and I don't expect others to agree with my point of view. But I would like to listen to their explanations of the circumstances under which we ought to teach our children/players to ignore or bend or break the rules.
Your framing that last sentence is a “when did you stop beating your wife?” question, in that you are implicitly saying those of us who don’t necessarily think what Suarez did was beyond the line are automatically fine with teaching our kids to ignore or bend or break the rules. I don’t think that’s a fair framing. I’d first like to hear what you mean by “breaking the rules”, because to me what Suarez did was commit a specific foul in the field of play that was clearly described in the rules, with a specific punishment that he actually received with pretty strong consequences. To me, he didn’t ignore or bend or break the rules, he committed a severe foul, one that was considered so bad he got a red card and the other team got a penalty kick, which is about as harsh a penalty as you can get.

Would you consider Belichick or Vrabel deliberately getting their teams to commit penalties vs the Jets and the Patriots respectively to run down the clock “breaking the rules”? Because those to me seem to be the same thing: huge violation of the spirit of the game, but already covered as a foul on the field of play within the rules and punished accordingly.

If you ask me my line as a parent in youth sport: 1) no professional fouls and unnecessary physical contact that could injure a player even if it prevents a goal scoring opportunity (in soccer that means no studs-up hard tackles, rugby tackles, etc.), 2) you own up to anything you do and don’t try to put one pass the ref (eg if you commit a deliberate handball on the line, you own up to it and face the consequences), 3) some variation of the mercy rule - if you’re thoroughly dominating, don’t press their goalkeeper who can’t punt to get a cheap goal, 4) absolutely no cheating off the field - no taking steroids, pulling the fire alarm at a visiting travel team’s hotel, looking at the other team’s playbook. Those are all rules grounded in a set of ethics (don’t hurt others, don’t lie, don’t get an unfair advantage) that I think most people would agree with.

But when it comes to non-contact fouls within the field of play that already have clearly defined in-game penalties under the rules, whether it’s taking a smart delay of game penalty, playing hack-a-Shaq, and yes, handling the ball to prevent a goal, I think people have different views on whether that even constitutes breaking the rules. Certainly I don’t think it’s breaking the rules in the same ethical sense as dangerous or risky behavior that can result in injury or cheating/ skullduggery that compromises the integrity of the game
 

SocrManiac

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Apr 15, 2006
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Part of the issue is that the exchange doesn’t feel equitable. Ghana traded an actual goal for the chance of one and the nearly inconsequential drop to 10 men for their opponent (in the 120th minute). Of course Uruguay makes that trade, but it doesn’t seem like the punishment fits the crime. The handball rule simply wasn’t written with such an egregious breach in mind. There was an assumption in there somewhere that calculated abuse at that level wasn’t a line to be crossed.
 

StupendousMan

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Jul 20, 2005
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Your framing that last sentence is a “when did you stop beating your wife?” question, in that you are implicitly saying those of us who don’t necessarily think what Suarez did was beyond the line are automatically fine with teaching our kids to ignore or bend or break the rules. I don’t think that’s a fair framing.
I’d first like to hear what you mean by “breaking the rules”, because to me what Suarez did was commit a specific foul in the field of play that was clearly described in the rules, with a specific punishment that he actually received with pretty strong consequences. To me, he didn’t ignore or bend or break the rules, he committed a severe foul, one that was considered so bad he got a red card and the other team got a penalty kick, which is about as harsh a penalty as you can get.
That's a fair point.

If you ask me my line as a parent in youth sport: 1) no professional fouls and unnecessary physical contact that could injure a player even if it prevents a goal scoring opportunity (in soccer that means no studs-up hard tackles, rugby tackles, etc.), 2) you own up to anything you do and don’t try to put one pass the ref (eg if you commit a deliberate handball on the line, you own up to it and face the consequences), 3) some variation of the mercy rule - if you’re thoroughly dominating, don’t press their goalkeeper who can’t punt to get a cheap goal, 4) absolutely no cheating off the field - no taking steroids, pulling the fire alarm at a visiting travel team’s hotel, looking at the other team’s playbook. Those are all rules grounded in a set of ethics (don’t hurt others, don’t lie, don’t get an unfair advantage) that I think most people would agree with.
I agree with 95% of these rules. My one exception involves item 1. I'm completely with you on forbidding physical fouls that intentionally could injure another player, but I would add to that list "fouls that wouldn't harm a player, but are intentionally against the rules." For example, I wouldn't encourage players to grab the jersey or shorts of a forward who got past the defender (outside the penalty box) and was heading for a clear shot on net. I understand completely the reasoning behind doing so: it will prevent a goal, and give us a better chance to win, and the penalty is just a free kick from outside the area. Nor would I instruct my players to stand one foot in front of the ball when when the referee awards a free kick to the other team, in order to prevent them from taking the kick until our goalie and defenders are set. Coaches and players who follow such reasoning will win more games. But personally, I wouldn't make winning the game more important than playing according to the rules.

I suspect I wouldn't make a very good coach.
 

CFB_Rules

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Point of clarification on the NFL, I am pretty sure there is a rule that if you do something like this twice in a row the ref can award a TD or something like that. I forget the exact rule. @CFB_Rules ?
The play DDB brings up happened the NCAA. Cal was beating UNC but UNC was driving late. With a few seconds to go in the red zone Cal tackled every receiver. The NCAA quickly fixed it. Now it's a UNS against every single player that commits a foul during the down, and the time is restored to what it was before the play. Hasn't happened since.

EDIT: American football also has the God rule. Meaning the referee is allowed to do whatever the hell he/she wants if they think the event is flagrant enough. Award a TD, DQ the bench, make the coach do pushups, whatever. Not all sports have that.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Mar 26, 2005
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Was it “Strange But True Football Stories”? Man, I haven’t thought of that book in at least 40 years.

View: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strange-True-Football-Stories-Library/dp/0394801989
No, it was (I believe), "Play It Again Bud" where he went frame by frame through some of sports controversies. I can't remember them but he broke down the tackle of Moegle by Lewis. Some other stories that was in the book was how LA screwed up before the Thompson HR; a relay race where someone dropped the baton; whether Liston took a dive against Ali; a couple of Olympic controversies, a horse race where people thought the horse was spooked, marathoner who collapsed before finishing, and others I can't remember.

Book was fascinating to teen-age me.

58819
 

trekfan55

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I think we are indeed talking past each other.

The Suarez play was instinctive too. In the spot where he was, it was a 1 second thing to put his hand out and avoid the score. Most players would do this, there are ver very few who would just watch the ball go by, especially at that level.

And again, he did not do an ARod "what did i do? hands to the head gesture when they called the penalty and gave him a red card" So yeah, he knew what the cpnsequences were.

Yeah as an Everton fan I can’t believe I’m defending Suarez but I definitely think a lot of the lingering controversy is tied to Suarez’s beyond-a-doubt unsportsmanlike acts later. Otherwise what he did was very much punished according to the laws of the game, and I find it impossible to believe that the IFAB officials who added the deliberate handball punishment rule in 1991 were unaware of such a situation being a possibility: they specifically said that a player who committed a handling offence that denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, as Suarez did, should be sent off for serious foul play. Which he was. It was *precisely* the situation that the rule was made for, only that the resolution was unsatisfying because Ghana couldn’t make their penalty.

The correct analogy to kids stealing candy is not one in which the kids got away with it: it’s one where they were caught and punished exactly as the law said they should be, but people were unhappy because this was seen as a particularly bad case of candy theft.
This is the best analogy. Should rules change and the goal ne allowed? Maybe with today's technology we could do it, not 100% sure though.
 

joe dokes

Member
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Jul 18, 2005
31,463
No, it was (I believe), "Play It Again Bud" where he went frame by frame through some of sports controversies. I can't remember them but he broke down the tackle of Moegle by Lewis. Some other stories that was in the book was how LA screwed up before the Thompson HR; a relay race where someone dropped the baton; whether Liston took a dive against Ali; a couple of Olympic controversies, a horse race where people thought the horse was spooked, marathoner who collapsed before finishing, and others I can't remember.

Book was fascinating to teen-age me.

View attachment 58819
I still have the hardcover version that I got in the early 70's somewhere!
Jackie Robinson was safe.
Armin Hary was fast.
Don Campbell was too fast.
The jockey stood up too soon.
Jack Johnson probably didn't(?) throw the Jess Willard fight in the 45th(!!!) round.
 

McBride11

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Jul 15, 2005
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While it wasn't as watched as the World Cup, the Merseyside Derby is still seen pretty extensively around the world. But if you think the act is a horrible example of sportsmanship, then does the scale of the game matter?

The point is that the exact commentators and media members that said Neville made a smart play were among those that vilified Suarez. Not the first time that the actions of an English player were looked at much differently than that of one from elsewhere.

And yes, Suarez wasn't Suarez yet, but I think you'd agree that the player he developed into and the controversies along the way are a big reason why this is still being discussed outside Ghana so passionately 12 years later. As an American, I'm still mad at Torsten Frings from 2002 (and he got away with it without a penalty or card!) but how many other people care today?
Frings too soon.
Usa pulls that out, have Semis vs SK. Possible path to finals. Bra likely wasnt losing. But goddam.

I am on team ‘Suarez made a smart play’. Ghana still missed the PK, with a cited 70+% success in other threads.
Suarez was punished appropriately and Ghana was awarded the penalty.

If like Messi or Modric had done this, would the outrage be nearly the same?Nope
 

trekfan55

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I guess this is a good place to ask.

How do I follow/watch good Europpean Football?

I have access to good streaming and local options but...

Games are during the day and I have work.
I keep Shabat which makes it difficult to watch games on Staurday afternoons.

What options are there_ How do people in America do this?
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
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Sep 27, 2016
23,213
Pittsburgh, PA
I would suggest a few things:

(1) Highlights. This is how I keep up with a lot of matches despite not really being able to watch most of them live (given I'm chasing around a couple of young kids most of the time). I put on my ad blocker, go to YourSoccerDose (sister site to SoccerCatch, f/k/a FullMatchesAndShows, at which you can get full match downloads), can pick a day and a game, and can decide based on the video options available (under the "Media" tab) how much I want to watch of (say) Brentford vs Fulham. Do I want the 6-8' short highlights package? The 12-15' extended one? Sometimes now they've even been doing 20'+ minute cuts which really feel like a mini-match. The key thing is that that site avoids spoilers, so unless you get notified of results, or affirmatively click to spoil it, you don't know the result while you're watching those highlights. And it's not quite as wonderful as feeling the flow of a full match, but I would say it's like 80% of the fun and "wow" factor in like 10-20% of the time commitment.

(2) Try to watch one match a week. For you, given Shabbat, this might be a combination of (A) watch something on Sunday, as most top leagues will play 60-70% of their matches on Saturdays but leave 3-4 matches for Sundays, or (B) go to either SoccerCatch or Reddit FootballHighlights and find links to download / watch a match of your choice (they are not just highlights, they include links to full-match downloads too). /r/FootballHighlights has a no-spoiler policy, and every week they have a thread (example) where people post about how good a match was, on a 1-10 scale, without spoiling it - basically to answer, "was that match worth watching?". I'll often use that as a guide to determine what to watch, whether a full match, highlights or neither. Watching a full match lets you appreciate layers of it that would never make highlights packages - getting a feel for the approach of specific players and different teams, having an understanding of the run of play, being able to focus on watching specific players rather than the ball (which takes practice) and appreciating their movements and thought process, seeing what almost became highlight-worthy but not quite, and feeling the march toward the final whistle. Some people may discover that highlights just don't do it for them, only a live, flowing match really lets them enjoy the experience. And that's equally great!

As for what services to use, there's two approaches. The legit method is to add a bunch of cable packages that get you the leagues. NBC / Peacock has the Premier League, CBS / Paramount+ has the UEFA Champions League and Europa League as well as Italian Serie A, a bunch of games are on ESPN+ (including German Bundesliga, Spain's La Liga and the Dutch Eredivisie), and if that's not enough, FuboTV has the French Ligue 1. Here's a primer.

The other method is to find streams. Reddit had /r/SoccerStreams for a while which would post links from various independent streamers, but they ended up just making their own website called SoccerStreams, and there's another site called SportSurge which similarly aggregates the various streamers and lets you redirect to them (e.g. CrackStreams, StreamEast, SolarisTV, GrandmaStreams, etc). If all else fails, I'll accept lower-quality streams and go over to VIPbox. All of these require you to have an up-to-date ad blocker, because otherwise you'll never get the damn things to load. I have other tricks and sources too, but this should satisfy most non-sickos.

Champions League is the international europe-wide competition for the best teams in Europe (and thus, usually, the world), it's played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the week, with its NIT equivalent being the Europa League (on Thursdays, and now paired with a 3rd-tier competition, the Europa Conference League). Those games start at (mostly) 2:45pm ET, so if you work from home or can play a little hooky, it's a good thing to have on the second screen or to take a break or only-kinda-pay-attention to a meeting with. Or just pick up highlights starting at ~5:00pm. Could be a good solution to the Shabbat issue as well.

(3) Don't pick a club, let it pick you. I tried to get into EPL for its own sake for a while, and I still love watching its highlights, but what I fell into was following the USMNT, specifically following its players as their careers ascended around the top clubs in Europe. So now I'll watch a match that's pretty random as long as an American features in it, and it's odd in that I don't care much whether a club wins or loses as long as my guy plays well. But you could take an equally expansive view at first, and if curiosity leads you to find out more about a club, its history and culture, how much of a bandwagon team vs diehards-only kind of team it is, etc, then eventually you might fall into following one of them. But you can only find that fit by trying out a bunch of different things, and since almost nobody has enough time to watch 10 matches a week, I think the way you get there is highlights plus one full game a week.

TB would add some notes about MLS, but I will let him carry that flag, since you asked about European football.
 

Dan Murfman

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I know I could google this but I always hear that so so has so many caps. Do the players actually get a cap for each national team appearance?
 

BrazilianSoxFan

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I know I could google this but I always hear that so so has so many caps. Do the players actually get a cap for each national team appearance?
https://sports.yahoo.com/caps-mean-soccer-ahead-2022-161740342.html

The term is said to have originated from the United Kingdom, when players were awarded physical caps to mark their involvements in international matches. Though those physical caps are a thing of the past, it is still one of the highest honors a player can achieve in the sport.
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
33,441
Has it ever been debated to move the format to more of a wrestling tournament style. I ask because I really enjoy the knock out matches but the group matches and all the draws leaves a lot to be desired. But I also understand you wouldn’t want half the squads to be one and done. But wrestling tournaments have a consolation bracket so even if you lose your first match you could potentially still make third place and all squads would get at least two matches and there would be no draws.
 

dirtynine

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 17, 2002
8,565
Philly
Has it ever been debated to move the format to more of a wrestling tournament style. I ask because I really enjoy the knock out matches but the group matches and all the draws leaves a lot to be desired. But I also understand you wouldn’t want half the squads to be one and done. But wrestling tournaments have a consolation bracket so even if you lose your first match you could potentially still make third place and all squads would get at least two matches and there would be no draws.
It’s funny, but I enjoy the groups way more than the knockouts. To the point where I wish more American-style tournaments had group stages.

Draws are definitely not for every fan, but the more you watch, you do come to appreciate them and their specific place in soccer. Sometimes two teams straight-up deserve to split the points and it’s the fairest outcome. And certainly, an on-paper weaker team holding a strong team to a draw is its own kind of success (if not victory), and the reverse it’s own kind of disappointment (if not loss). There is some nuance about draws that I have really grown to enjoy.
 

InstaFace

The Ultimate One
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
23,213
Pittsburgh, PA
Yeah on the spectrum of "American fans not getting it" to "American fans looking at it with fresh eyes and making a good point", draws are definitely more towards the former, I think. A draw usually is paired with some very exciting soccer in the final minutes, as one team or both try to push for a winner. A draw could turn into victory in a flash. Whereas, a 3-goal lead is done and dusted, might as well just kick it around aimlessly for a bit. One side's happy, the other dejected, but a neutral is not entertained.

The question about tournaments going to knockout play but with a repechage bracket... I dunno. There are some sports where you can play it almost every day (Baseball, tennis, nearly so with basketball) and so extended bracket play can be a competitive option. But you can't really do that with gridiron football, and I don't think you can do so with association football either - playing even every 3 days is a surefire path to injury, and every 4 days as we see in the World Cup still leaves players worn out and squads accumulating injuries. But in wrestling or tournament martial arts, you can have a match every hour or two. Just very different dynamics.

I agree about group round-robins being underrated in other contexts. The tennis tour championships at the end of the year - treated as something of a fifth major - start with 2x 4-team round-robin pools, and then go to bracket semifinals. And it's fun, with announcers calculating tiebreakers like sets won. Olympic baseball and softball, right? It works a lot of places.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
43,949
AZ
Draws counting less than half of a win definitely makes it more intriguing than in other sports.

For people who only watch during the world cup or who have not really paid as much attention as in prior world cups, I think it initially comes across as "well that's unsatisfying." But as you watch more and more soccer -- and hopefully people drawn by the world cup will -- you realize that draws are very much integral to the game and are not merely an unsatisfactory result where we give half credit.

For the competitions that hopefully people will be drawn to -- like league play where the difference between a draw and a win can decide the championship or affect European spots -- or for Champions League group play or world cup qualification, draws actually enhance the competition and organizing the tournament to require a series of win/loss results would detract from it. It would also elevate penalty taking too much.

I think the fact that a win counts 3x as much a a draw really smooths out many of the most serious objections to draws, and does a lot of the work of making them compelling.

My favorite sporting events in the world are world cup group play and world cup qualification. It seems as though the latter will really never be the same and they are already talking about messing with the former.
 

Marciano490

Urological Expert
SoSH Member
Nov 4, 2007
62,864
Those euro/soccer remixes of popular songs, there’s one for Mbappé to Mmmbop, right?
 

singaporesoxfan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2004
11,969
Washington, DC
Has it ever been debated to move the format to more of a wrestling tournament style. I ask because I really enjoy the knock out matches but the group matches and all the draws leaves a lot to be desired. But I also understand you wouldn’t want half the squads to be one and done. But wrestling tournaments have a consolation bracket so even if you lose your first match you could potentially still make third place and all squads would get at least two matches and there would be no draws.
This year’s group stages featured some of the best most exhilarating World Cup game watching experiences I can remember. Building up to Match Day 3 with everything on the line and having to watch two matches simultaneously because both mattered made it bonkers in a way that having a single knockout game could never match
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,963
The 718
On the last weekend of the season, all 20 PL teams play at the same time. In those 10 games there are usually Champions League spots, relegation/survival, and sometimes the title itself up for grabs. It’s incredible.
 

swiftaw

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2009
3,488
On the last weekend of the season, all 20 PL teams play at the same time. In those 10 games there are usually Champions League spots, relegation/survival, and sometimes the title itself up for grabs. It’s incredible.
When I have some time I need to look back over the past seasons to see how many matches on the last day featured two teams that were not playing for something at either end of the table.
 

Mr. Stinky Esq.

No more Ramon
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2006
2,421
I think a barrier to entry for me is understanding the various top tier European leagues, when their seasons are, and how the leagues interact. I’m sure this is stupid because I could probably figure it out with enough googling but this thread is judgment free, right?
 

BrazilianSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2006
3,760
Brasil
I think a barrier to entry for me is understanding the various top tier European leagues, when their seasons are, and how the leagues interact. I’m sure this is stupid because I could probably figure it out with enough googling but this thread is judgment free, right?
This is a basic video that will will give you some idea of how it works. Feel free to ask any further doubts.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ4i3KX2CW4

Here you have the dates for the European leagues this season. Note that the winter break is a lot longer than normal, thanks to the World Cup.

https://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk/ecr/datesleague.htm
 
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Dummy Hoy

Angry Pissbum
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2006
8,399
Falmouth
Each country has its own league, the quality varies obviously. Virtually every league runs on a (roughly) September to May schedule with the 16-20 teams (depending on league) playing each other team in their league twice- home and away. At the end of the season the points are tallied up, the bottom couple of teams (really depends on the country how many) are relegated (drop down to a lower division) and the top teams (again- country dependent how many) qualify to play in one of the European wide competitions.
The higher ranked the league, the more spots they get in European competitions. The Premier League or La Liga will generally have 4-6 spots, wheras say the Estonian League will have 1 team entered into the beginning rounds of the competitions. There are three competitions, the Champions League, the Europa League, and the Europa Conference in order of prestige.

The English, Spanish, German, and Italian leagues are a step ahead of the rest of Europe in quality, with the French, Dutch, and Portuguese leagues the next tier down.

Fake Edit: or just watch the video
 

speedracer

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
3,953
Another point worth stressing is that all these competitions (league, domestic cup competition, European cup competition) run concurrently during the year. Top teams will be competing to win the league at the same time they are making deep runs in one or more cup competitions, which requires them to have a deep roster. The extra revenue that cup competitions bring (especially the Champions League) can be a big deal for clubs, depending on their financial health.

This is also why you see so much traffic in the transfer markets, way more than in the US major sports as teams stock up on players for extra competitions/a tougher league (or inversely, trim down their expenses if they haven't qualified for a European cup or have been relegated to a lower domestic league).
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
9,238
Another key difference that took me a while to appreciate is that the European clubs are not franchises of their leagues - they are independent organizations participating in a national football association, which is in turn governed by a continental association (UEFA).
 

Mr. Stinky Esq.

No more Ramon
SoSH Member
Dec 7, 2006
2,421
These replies have all been very helpful, thanks! (And thanks for not judging me, publicly anyway, for not just going and figuring it out myself).
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
24,963
The 718
Another key difference that took me a while to appreciate is that the European clubs are not franchises of their leagues - they are independent organizations participating in a national football association, which is in turn governed by a continental association (UEFA).
This is huge, huge, huge. It's fundamental to understanding European footy and it's fascinating. I'll speak about England, since it's the oldest and best known.

"Football," encompassing all codes of a "move the ball from one end to the other" games, grew organically in England in the mid-19th century, and took different forms in different places. In the London area and in public (ie private) schools, the game where you could pick up the ball and run with it was favored (but some schools still played feet-only). In the industrial north, the game with feet-only was favored (but the other was still also played).

There were various meetings and codifications of rules and whatnot. The game got divided into Rugby football,* named after the public school where its history was most rooted (imagine if gridiron was called "Yale football," that's the idea), and Association football, from the Football Association and its predecessor Associations that organized various clubs. "Soccer" is the shorthand/bastardization of "association football." So don't let anyone tell you that Americans are wrong for calling it soccer. The term has plenty of history and current usage in England.

*Rugby branched into rugby league and rugby union. I'm not going into that now.

But this was all drawn up by mustachioed dudes in sepia photographs. At root level the game was played by clubs, which were groups of men who associated voluntarily. Again, sometimes these were at elite schools, and sometimes at factories and the like. Arsenal trace their roots to workers at a munitions factory. What is now Manchester United started as the Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club, a group of railway workers. Sometimes it was a cricket club whose members wanted to do something else when cricket wasn't being played. A cricket club in Sheffield, the hub of feet-only football in the mid-1800's, started holding football games for its members on Wednesdays, when the cricket ground wasn't in use; Sheffield Wednesday Football Club still exists and currently plays in the second tier of English football.

Notwithstanding the various attempts to "associate," these clubs were atomistic. They were member-goverened and member-financed and the members played the games. Competition was arranged informally. A bunch of handlebar mustache dudes would travel to play a bunch of other handlebar mustache dudes on a sepia mud-field somewhere. Sometimes they would play one game of pick-up-the-ball and one of feet-only.

Since these were self-financed efforts, and adidas and Nike didn't exist, uniforms were makeshift. Just as American baseball clubs crafted a "uniform" by intially having its ragtag players wear the same color stockings, creating team names that carry on to today, soccer clubs created their "uniform" by pinning the club's badge or crest over their heart, on the left side of whatever sepia-colored shirt they had.

Gradually, as the boundary between rugby and soccer became distinct and the rules standardized, various efforts were made to organize ongoing competitions. These were mostly regional. There was a desire for a national tournament to crown a king, so the FA Cup was instituted in 1872. England-wide leagues as we know them now did not yet exist. There was no real way to make sense of a seeding system or anything like that, so all of the teams, of whatever strength, went into a hat, completely random draw. You might get a string of home games against weaker teams all the way to the final, or a string of away games with bad travel against stronger teams, or whatever mix. That format essentially remains today.**

In 1878, the forerunner of the Premier League, the Football League, was founded. As soccer was still relatively stronger in the north compared to rugby in the south, and with the impracticalities of traveling up and down the country every week, it was initally all northern clubs: Accrington, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County, Everton, Notts County, Preston North End, Stoke, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Of these, the bolded are currently among the 20 PL teams, and the italicized have been in the PL in the recent past.

Just as in American baseball, in the 1870's-80s, what had been a pastime started to become a cutthroat affair, and these genteel "clubs" began to pay professionals, and just as in American baseball, this was controversial. The solution was much different. American baseball created closed leagues with franchises that were monopolies, as blessed by one of the handful of worst SCOTUS decisions of all time. You had to buy your way in, and once you were in, you were in for good. Other teams only existed as franchises of the major league clubs.

That did not fly in England. The soccer clubs were, at heart, still clubs. Baseball was popular in America, but soccer clubs were at the beating heart of their communities - like Texas high school football x1000. So the clubs became formal business entities, joint-stock companies like the Green Bay Packers, essentially*** and started to pay players. After the Football League was founded in 1878, lower tier leagues with greater geographical reach were assembled, and at the turn of the century promotion and relegation was introduced. This solved the problem of competitive balance and incentivized sound club management.

So the English football pyramid now looks like this. The league names smack of the same kind of what-the-fuck-is-this of American college football conferences, now that the Big 12 has four teams and the Big 10 has thirty seven; or Spinal Tap being called "the New Originals."

1. Premier League/20 clubs
2. Championship/24 clubs (not to be confused with the pan-European Champions league)
3. League One/24
4. League Two/24

Even more confusingly, these four are together known as "the Football League," and everything below it is "non-league football."

Beyond the fifth tier the leagues are regionalized to minimize travel for what are semi-pro clubs and to reflect the wider pyramid - eighth tier has 160 clubs, the 11th and bottom tier has 792 clubs, now we're into pub-club territory.

59192





There is promotion and relegation all up and down the pyramid, every year. Three teams go down from the PL to the Championship, and three up the other way; three down from the Championship to League One, and three up the other way; etc.

So in theory, DC Auto Repairs in the eleventh-tier Devon Football League, whose players are not paid, and which is so small-bore that clubs either don't have websites or use the kind of website that my kid's youth sports leagues use to schedule games, could rip off eleven championship seasons in a row and win the Premier League.

Last year, the "top six" English clubs - Man City, Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs - along with the heavyweights from the other big European leagues like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG etc. announced the formation of a "Super League," or closed-competition permanent Champions League, where they would play each other in and around their domestic league seasons every year, without having to qualify for the Champions League by finishing at the top of their domestic leagues. In short, they wanted the guaranteed money streams from guaranteed Liverpool-Barcelona games, without the risk of not qualifying. Or, the American model.

Fan reaction was extremely negative, and in some cases violently so. I have to go earn a living now... but the point is that at the heart of the European system is the idea of a "club," run by and for its members, that earns its way into the top league and stays there by competing, and not by having a billionaire buy its way into a closed cartel. They are still, literally, clubs. I am a member of Everton Football Club, for real. (For the same reason, "moving" a club in England is just unheard of. If you can't profitably run yourself, you don't move to the biggest city lacking a franchise in the closed cartel, you sink down a level. If you look at the way that so many baseball franchises are basically pocketing the TV money and betting on franchise appreciation, and not putting it into payroll, you see the downsides of this. The Rays would spend if the alternative were home games for the next year with the Augusta Greenjackets and no TV money).

Goodbye.