I'm a huge soccer fan, but absolutely hate penalty shootouts. That is no way to decide a game. The winning team needs to be determined by playing the game, not through penalty kicks.
That's like deciding an American football game by having five or six players from each team line up and kick field goals at the end of the game, or deciding a basketball game through a predetermined number of free throws by each team at the very end. It's just stupid. Yes, there's drama and suspense in a penalty shootout, but it's a stupid kind of drama. It detracts from an otherwise "beautiful game."
The way to solve this is through a couple of key changes with the offsides and substitution rules. There should be no more offsides except inside the 18 yard line (penalty box). That should help produce more goals during the game. To help the goalie, there will be no one other than the goalie allowed in the goal box except on corner kicks.
Got that? No offsides except inside the 18 yard line. No one but the goalie inside the goal box (6 yard box) except on corner kicks. For a diagram of a soccer field, click here.
If it's still tied (a draw) at the end of regulation time, unlimited substitutions will be allowed in extra time, like hockey does throughout the game. They will play the game forever, like every other sport does, until someone ends up on top.
For fun, even the coaches can play if necessary to fill up a team (side). These changes will create a lot more scoring, as well as obviate the need for the dreaded penalty shootout.
You're welcome. And, apparently, Stefan Frei agrees with me.
Even if penalties did help him win a title last year, Frei said he's never been much of a fan of ending matches with a shootout, even if he did understand the reason for them on Tuesday. "I think it's one of the most horrible ways to end a team sport," he said. "I said that even when I was at the other end against Toronto. Somebody is going to have to be the one that misses and then that's not what football for me is really about, but the spectacle for the fans I guess."