$250 Million for Kicks
Backward Kicks. Writing for pubclub.com, The Bartender summed up one real problem with soccer for Americans:
They pass the ball backward too much. That’s it in a nutshell. “Experts” can argue about a lack of scoring but the real issue is the lack of an attempt to score. Americans are used to going forward in sports, to attack the basket or go for the end zone. Even Woody Hayes’ old “three yards and a cloud of dust” offense was designed to move the ball forward.
In soccer, it’s a pass backward here, another pass backward there, then another, and so on. “Boring!” Americans say. In three games in World Cup ‘06, Team USA had exactly one goal and only two shots on goal. Think about that for a second—two shots on goal in 4-1/2 hours of play.
No Substitutions. Another deal that’s killer for sports fans is found in Law 3 of soccer’s official rules:
* from that moment, the substitute becomes a player and the player he has replaced ceases to be a player
* a player who has been replaced takes no further part in the match
The only major league team sport that does not allow unlimited substitution is baseball. But every half-inning, baseball players are relaxing in the dugout. On the soccer field of play, athletes are continually on the run, which turns the game into an endurance contest. In the last minutes of the game, fans can hardly expect a bunch of whipped dogs to play with the same pyrotechnics they exhibited in the opening half.
Enter David Beckham
The announcement that Timothy J. Leiweke, CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, offered David “Becks” Beckham $250 million to leave the Real Madrid team for the L.A. Galaxy has Los Angeles in a tizzy. Behind the move is the 89th richest man in the world with a net worth of $6.4 billion—the reclusive Denver mogul, Philip Anschutz, 66. From the March 9, 2006 Forbes story, “The World’s Billionaires:”