Over the last couple of years, I have really started to enjoy watching soccer. I am not sure how that happened considering I found the sport to be boring and slow throughout most of my childhood. Like most Americans, I preferred sports where the scoring was high and the action was non stop. But I suppose as I mature, I have come to appreciate the psychology and precision that is football to the rest of the world.
There is one thing though that I cannot appreciate. As I sit and watch the Barclay's Premier League on Saturday mornings (England's top pro league) it astounds me how many soccer players miss wide open shots. And I'm not talking about the guys who take the ball out of mid-air and miss the goal by 2 feet on either side. I'm talking about the star players who line up wide open shots off a fairly stagnant ball and miss the net by more than 10 yards. I mean, these kicks aren't even close!
Now, I know I'm not a soccer player and I've never personally scored a goal. However, these men are getting paid millions of dollars to play a game where they are expected to be the best of the best. To me, missing a shot that badly is the equivalent of Bill Gates walking into Best Buy and asking the Geek Squad to take a look at his computer because he's having trouble getting Windows to boot up. It just shouldn't happen. If you want to be an international superstar who gets to travel the world, have the girls, and live the life of luxury ... then play like it on the field.
The kicker for the San Francisco 49ers, David Akers, was receiving death threats earlier this year because he missed 10 kicks over the course of the NFL season. 10 kicks! And they were all close misses. Can you imagine if we applied the same standard to Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, and Van Persie? They would all be living in bunkers every second of the day fearing for their lives! Now I'm not saying that Akers was treated fairly, but I do believe we can expect our top-level athletes to play like top-level athletes.
So please guys, do me a favor, just get the ball close. You don't have to put it in the back of the net every time, but I promise you, it's very difficult to score goals when the ball is landing 30 rows up in the stands on the lap of a grandmother who's had a few too many pints. That's not the kind of easy scoring we're paying you for.