Jun 21, 2010

How Controversial Call Might Actually Help U.S. Soccer and Future FIFA Matches.

Unless you are from another planet (some might say Koman Coulibaly IS) you have heard about and seen or not seen for that matter, the controversial call that most likely cost the U.S. Men's national team 3 points for the win versus Slovenia last Friday and maybe even a chance to advance to the next round in the World Cup.

Of course many U.S. soccer supporters may possibly never get over this call by Coulibaly and rightfully so since it was a complete disgrace to both soccer and competitive sports in general. But it got me thinking, is it possible that there may be some positive side effects caused by his critical error and subsequent media storm?

I say YES! Add this unmistakable gaff by Coulibaly to the disgrace FIFA has been forced to deal with in the face of two already sore topics surrounding this World Cup, abysmally poor quality of its referees and the overall lack of support for a World Cup in South Africa (empty seats, security concerns, teams forced to stay at their hotels, and negative media coverage of South Africa's many human rights issues).

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This all seems like the perfect storm for FIFA to be forced into implementing instant replay, at least for review of goals or fouls that revolve around goal scoring opportunities. However there may be another and more important side affect, at least to me and all of the U.S. Soccer supporters including the politicians who are lobbying to bring the World Cup back to the United States. Though FIFA would never admit to it, the act of stealing a win right out of the hands (or feet) of the U.S. may now inadvertently lead to preferential treatment and the award of winning the bid to host the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world.  If this were to happen, bringing the World Cup back to America would finally give us a chance to disprove the myth that Americans do not care about soccer as much as the rest of the world.

There are currently top level professional soccer leagues succeeding for both men (MLS) and women (WPS) here in the United States along with literally millions of youth playing soccer and some realistically dreaming of playing professionally some day.

It might just be that a huge mistake by a very incompetent FIFA referee that affected the outcome of one of the most important U.S. Soccer matches in our short international history will lead to a change in the rules of the beautiful game and a much needed and perfectly timed opportunity for Americans to show the rest of the word that we are ready to compete for the top spot and that YES, soccer is here to stay!