Jim Rayburn: Soccer is starting to grow on me

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  • Soccer Fan
    Sept. 27, 2008 2:30 p.m.

    Mr. Rayburn, I usually don't read these comments, let alone write on them, but I am the mother of Lehi's Kyleigh Royall. I have watched the countless hours of practice that have taken place on various soccer fields and with many talented coaches and players, as well as the endless days spent in the back yard perfecting foot skills, passing, shooting, fitness and more. I have watched a mental toughness and maturity that has developed over these many years of hard work. I believe that soccer has taught my daughter how to work hard on perfecting many life skills as well. I am glad that you are making the effort and taking the time to appreciate the most popular sport in the world...soccer...and thank you for your recognition of our daughter!

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 24, 2008 10:31 p.m.

    bah. u sillies and ur narrowed pointed view of opinion. offsides, is in soccer, well, to make the game fun. now how boring would that be to have a couple of guys at each end of the field, next to their goals, waiting for their team to get the ball and just kick it down directly for them....now wouldnt that be boring? who would watch that? in kindergarten i thought it was fun to do that. maybe we should do it for the kids....nah. i'd rather not. the best thing about soccer, is the passing. in soccer, u have to have a good chemistry as a team. u all have to think alike to be the best u can be. no plays, (except free kicks), it is just all pure creativity. to see a team work the other with first touch passing, and leading to a break away (with the offsides rule), is absolutely awesome to witness. any of u soccer fans agree? if u really want to understand why we enjoy the sport so much, watch an arsenal game. or manchester united. or chelsea....but i preferably enjoy arsenal. they play soccer the way it should be played.

  • RE:
    Sept. 24, 2008 5:03 p.m.

    She plays football for the challenge of it. She begged us to let her try out because she knows that she is good at it. It was her idea. If she had to choose between the two sports she would choose football hands down. Fortunately both coaches have been unbelievably supportive of her as she juggles all the practices and games. As for a "future" in sports, do any of these kids have a future? She has no delusions of playing NFL football, just maybe kicking for the high school team someday. I support her in soccer although I wish the sport was more exciting and entertaining.

  • re sports fan
    Sept. 24, 2008 4:20 p.m.

    If all those other sports are so interesting to you,why would you waste you time hating on soccer on this blog? Sounds like a hidden agenda.Soccer is a team sport just like football, I got news for you genius, most football players never succeed or fail on a individual basis,just a few score just like Soccer the rest work together to help the team win,gee sounds like a lesson the kids could use in the real world.

  • To soccer fan not
    Sept. 24, 2008 12:26 p.m.

    Hopefully the only reason you daughter is playing is not really strictly for your entertainment, but you seem to think it is. Do you really think your daughter has a future in football? You would rather have her sit at home and watch TV than play a recreational sport? Think about someone else - like maybe your daughter - for a change would you.

  • Soccer Fan NOT
    Sept. 24, 2008 11:59 a.m.

    My daughter is a freshman and plays high school soccer. She plays varsity and has played club level for 4 seasons and is a good player. She is also the placekicker for the freshman football team. As far as soccer goes the only reason I go to the games is to support her. The play is so poor that it is sometimes hard to watch. Even at the club level it is difficult to stomach at times. I have more fun watching her football games than I ever have watching her play soccer. I also believe she gets better conditioning at football practice than at soccer practice. If she never played another soccer game I would not be disappointed.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 24, 2008 9:54 a.m.

    Honestly, Jim, I couldn't care less if you're a soccer fan or not. It's your loss.

  • To sports fan.
    Sept. 24, 2008 7:30 a.m.

    Just saying soccer is healthier - Give a kid a choice between a candy bar and an apple what do you get? Sure it is easier to Gut it out in football that run a few miles but not necessary smarter. So let your kid make his own choice, after all it only his health.

  • Ronaldo's drag partner
    Sept. 24, 2008 12:08 a.m.

    Everyone pile in the minivan while we eat orange slices and drink capri sun. Soccer is for people really good at acting and clutching their legs an acting like they got shot.

  • sports fan
    Sept. 23, 2008 11:26 p.m.

    whatever!! YOu are saying that soccer athletes are better than other athletes!! Please! What player would not rather play any other sport if he or she is good enough of an athlete. UMMM... let's see, should I be a football star or soccer. How many people show up to the Utes football games and how many people show up at BYU football games and how many colleges have to worry about the soccer crowds just bringing too much money into the college. Whatever!!!

  • To sport fan,
    Sept. 23, 2008 10:07 p.m.

    At least little Johnies is running and does not require oxygen when he gets to the sidelines. If you letting him fail means heart failure then put him in a sport where they stand around more of the game than move. What sport would that be sport fan?

  • Nick Rimando
    Sept. 23, 2008 9:53 p.m.

    Sports Fan, you mean I didn't fail after I set that sweet pick on my own defender?

    That's good to know.

  • Offside
    Sept. 23, 2008 8:27 p.m.

    in soccer is NOT called when the offense beats the defense as one of you said -- it is called when a player is in an offside position in order to beat the defense. Offenses can beat the defense and not be offside. The rule is about positioning and where a player is on the field at the time a ball is passed to them or sent through to them. It is very simple and makes a lot of sense if you actually played the game and understood how a team must work together to split the defense and still get in behind the defense without first being in an offside position. As for the no skill argument turn on Gol TV or Fox Soccer Channel and watch some players in Eurpoe like Lionel Messi, Kaka, Drogba, Deco, etc. -- the list goes on and on. These players are phenomenal athletes that are doing things with their feet that most people can't do with their hands. You may find it boring and more power to you if you do, but it is ridiculous to say that it requires no skill -- all sports require some skill or other even tabletennis.

  • Sports Fan
    Sept. 23, 2008 8:23 p.m.

    Here is why most people like soccer: Their pretty little Johnnie does not have to worry about failing. You play baseball Johnnie has to stand up and strike out more like America and real life is. Football requires Johnnie can fail again. Basketball Johnnie can miss the basket and fail. Soccer never lets you fail. Most of their sweet little Johnnies can run around without failing and everyone can go home happy. We do not play that sport in our school for a reason. We like it rough and tough and able to fail at something because that is real life. And... football and baseball and basketball and golf and track and rodeo and skiing and wakeboarding and water skiing and croquet and water polo and snow skiing and ......... are more interesting than soccer. Little Johnnie needs an opporturnity to fail. Let them strike out once in awhile. It is good for them. I for one am very tired of seeing soccer in the way of real sports coverage. Jim....come back.....please. You must have a little Johnnie of age now... come back.... let him fail at something.

  • I tried linebacker
    Sept. 23, 2008 8:11 p.m.

    sorry some people can not uderstand a game unless it goes very very slow and has very long breaks between action.

  • America and Money,Soccer
    Sept. 23, 2008 7:37 p.m.

    What the game comes down to in the US is money and advertising.In the other sports there are stoppages for TV to run commercials in Soccer the only time you can do it is at halftime.I love Soccer after I learned the game and the rules,but it gets no respect in the High Schools etc.Soccer needs a good dose of promotion and marketing.Heck the U and BYU doen't even have a NCAA mens team,All these kids playing soccer and they have to leave the state to play college soccer,too bad.

  • Mark's friend
    Sept. 23, 2008 6:11 p.m.

    Mark, are you serious? If so, you certainly fit the stereotype of the soccer fanatic (in other words, you're dilusional).

    Here's your logic: A coach no longer has to tell an 8-year old what to do in soccer. Football players still have to listen to their coach when their grown men. Therefore, it requires more intelligence to play soccer than to play football.

    Let me take it a step further: An infant learns to walk at a very young age, and no longer needs his/her parents to coach him/her along. A soccer player still has to listen to his/her coach at the age of eight. Therefore, walking requires more intelligence than soccer.

    It's all starting to make sense to me now. Thank you for enlightening me, Mark.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 23, 2008 5:48 p.m.

    Mark. that was terrible logic. In football you actually run plays. Soccer you mainly look for the open man or use the triangle method. Football is a lot more complex and twenty times better. Don't get me wrong, I still went to all my high school soccer games. I just think football is better, and basketball is the best!

  • To: Linebacker
    Sept. 23, 2008 5:10 p.m.

    That's really not a good comparison. I'm sorry you can't see that. It's probably time to try a new argument.

  • Rick
    Sept. 23, 2008 5:00 p.m.

    Soccer is a very entertaining game to watch. There is only one thing to be careful of: You have to watch a soccer game where the players, coaches, and referees actually have talent. Which unfortunately completely rules out MLS and Fake SL. Watching an MLS game is as much fun as getting a massage with a cheese grater.

  • More on offsides from linebacker
    Sept. 23, 2008 4:08 p.m.

    Offside is positioning. The ball is snapped or put in play many time in soccer game - that is every time the ball is kicked down field. But unlike football the game does not come to a omplete stop to discuss the next play inetween snaps. When offsides is called it is a bail out to the defense in soccer just like it is a bail out to the offensive line in football when offsides is called on the defensive rush. The team gain unfair advantage by taking up an illegal position on the field before the ball was put into play.
    In soccer there is nothing that says a player cannot outrun the defense once the ball has been kicked, just like receivers out running the defense in football.

  • Here's why it makes sense:
    Sept. 23, 2008 4:01 p.m.

    I hear what you're saying, offside. Leaving a player cherrypicking DOES make one less player who can play defense. But you have to look at the size of the team before you compare soccer to basketball.

    In soccer, if one guy cherrypicks, that still leaves 10 of 11 guys to defend (91% of the team). It's pretty easy to defend 11 with 10 - it's hard for the offense to find the open man. Just watch a soccer game where a guy's been ejected.

    In basketball, if one guy cherrypicks, only 4 of 5 guys can defend (80% of the team).....much easier to find the open man.

    So it's a much bigger risk in "smaller" sports to leave a guy cherrypicking.....his absence is more notable. That's why cherrypicking is allowed in basketball, hockey (to an extent), and even indoor soccer (no offside rule). And hence the need for offside in outdoor soccer.....and let's face it: Forwards don't usually play too much defense anyway, so the team already knows how to defend without them.

  • RSL Ulty fan
    Sept. 23, 2008 3:49 p.m.

    Most people who think soccer involves no skill have not played a real game. There is so much involved in the sport. Not just where the ball is at on the field. Watch the triangle formation, the runs up front, the communication, set piece plays, and much more. Some people will never like soccer. I respect that, but respect soccer players and fans. I think other sports are boring, but I don't bash them. I've learned in order to truly appreciate a sport, you have to play it. I hated tennis until I started playing for fun. Now I appreciate it and can actually watch it on T.V. without changing the channel.

  • Tie
    Sept. 23, 2008 3:37 p.m.

    But why can't soccer officials come up with a better solution than a tie? or a shootout? I'd love to hear some ideas.

  • Offside
    Sept. 23, 2008 3:39 p.m.

    Someone mentioned illegal defense in the NBA. I agree. That rule's ridiculous. That's one of the reasons why I'll take college ball over the NBA any day of the week.

    To those who compare "offside" in soccer to "offsides" in football, you're going the wrong direction with this. Before the ball is snapped in football, the only comparison in soccer is the few times the ball is placed at midfield after a goal is scored or to begin a half. In football, once the ball is snapped and the ball is in play, there's nothing that says a receiver can't outrun the defenders before having the ball thrown to him. In soccer, offside is called when the offense beats the defense.

    I don't buy the cherry picker argument. I see too much risk involved with leaving your players at one end of the field waiting for the rest of the team to get the ball. The opposition could easily turn that into their own advantage by outmanning your team at the other end of the field.

    Also, what you all call "offside traps," I call easy bailouts for the defense.

  • To: Verguenza!
    Sept. 23, 2008 3:20 p.m.

    That was weak. Try again.

  • Linebacker again
    Sept. 23, 2008 3:16 p.m.

    The 'offside trap' is like trying to draw the defense offsides in football. Done in a variety of ways the point is to get the defense in a position the rules do not allow before the snap; In soccer it the same thing only it is an offensive player before the ball is kicked. Some times it works, sometimes it doesnt.

  • About the offside rule...
    Sept. 23, 2008 3:03 p.m.

    Keep in mind the offside rule has been in effect since the beginning of the game, on every continent where they play. If it was really such a lousy, stifling rule, don't you think somebody would have decided to nix it by now?

    Remember also, it's not just about making the defense work. It's also about making the offense work. Every two-team sport needs a good balance between offense and defense, and the offside rule is what supplies that in soccer. Eliminating it would make things a lot harder for the defense, but would make things INCREDIBLY easy for the attackers. Offside is the great balancer. And a team with great attackers will still score on a lousy defense regardless.

    Likewise, the rule also introduces new strategies such as runs, traps, etc. that make the game much more intricate and enjoyable to watch.

    If you don't understand it yet, that's OK. Most of us didn't when we started following soccer. But trust that there is a reason they've had this rule all along, and you'll find that it really does add to the game, not take away from it.

  • Mark
    Sept. 23, 2008 2:47 p.m.

    Do this experiment:

    Go to your average american football game -- any level. Keep start/start time from the point of each time the offense sets to the time the whistle blows and play is dead. Tally the time. At most you will have 1/3 of game time as actual "action time", that's at the professional level. At HS level, you'll have less. So american football total clock time 3-4 hours -- Game time 60 minutes or 48 minutes (HS) -- Total action (ball in play) time 12-18 minutes. In every team sport except soccer, most of the players stand around most of the time watching the game, rather than playing the game. Makes me wonder which team sport contains the most action? Also, my 12 yo daughter can't understand why grown men on a football field need a coach to tell them what to do (run in plays) during a game, when her soccer coach stopped telling her what to do during the game when she was 8 years old. Makes me wonder which team sport requires more player intelligence on the field.

    Sept. 23, 2008 2:37 p.m.

    TO OFFSIDE 10:30 AM
    The offside rule in soccer is to maintain the integrity and the flow of the game. You mentioned that the NBA team would struggle if a fast break were disallowed. That is very true. But what's the deal with the Illegal Defense call? If a team wants to shut down a player by putting 3 defenders on him all the time why wouldn't that be allowed? What about the 24 second shot clock... if a team can outscore another team 10-2 in the first quarter why can't they just pass the ball around for the final three quarters. They would clearly show their superiority in ball control and keeping it from the other team.
    The point is each sport has rules that maintain the integrity of that particular sport. The rules are set to prevent "cheap shots" or other unfair play. For a player to go stand in front of the other teams goalie in soccer the whole game would throw off the flow and integrity of the game. It's a beautiful thing to watch a team play a ball through the defense to an onrunning player for a GOAL!! Timing is everything.

  • Not changing Offside Rule...
    Sept. 23, 2008 2:08 p.m.

    ...sorry, it is what it is, and I love it.

    It also introduces a defense trying the "Offside Trap". Very exciting stuff.

  • As explained by a Linebacker
    Sept. 23, 2008 1:44 p.m.

    Simple offside means you are standing behind the last defender (not including the goalie) when the ball is kicked to you. Like a receiver downfield or a defense line behind the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped in American football. He is offside(s) because he is in a position of advantage before the rules allow him to take that position on the field. Once the ball is kicked (like snapping the ball) the players can assume any position on the field just like in football. Changing this rule would drastically change the game, just like letting a defensive lineman stand behind the offensive line before the ball is snapped would change the game of football. It gets more complicated in its application just like men in motion and such in football. But thats why there are refs to interrupt the nuances. All you need to enjoy the game is understand the basic rule. Basic rule: Two defenders (last defender and goalie) between you and the goal until the ball is kicked. After the ball is kicked take off because youre on side no matter where you are when you receive the ball.

  • Verguenza!
    Sept. 23, 2008 1:33 p.m.

    Soccer players should be ashamed of themselves for diving.


    NFL wide receivers who fall down if a cornerback touches them.

    NBA players who collapse if a player driving to the net breathes on them.

    NHL players carrying them puck who fall over if a defenseman looks at them.

    MLB batters who keel over if an inside pitch comes within 6 inches of them.

  • Baseball?
    Sept. 23, 2008 12:12 p.m.

    Baseball and soccer are not comparable sports. When someone calls soccer boring, soccer fan will always come back with, "Oh yeah? Baseball's boring!" Soccer fan loves to make that comparison for some reason. Well, that's great that you think so, but how does that make soccer any better?

  • Offside
    Sept. 23, 2008 12:04 p.m.

    To "Here's why it makes sense:"

    I'm not seeing it the way you see it. To me, if a team wants to cherrypick, that's one less defender they have, which potentially gives the other team an advantage. So a cherrypicker takes a risk by standing at one end of the field (which is why you really don't see much cherrypicking in a sport like basketball--well, except for church basketball). To me it seems like a rule that would only prevent a superior team from showing its superiority. How would the US Olympic basketball team have done if the fast break were disallowed? They were the more talented team, but without the fast break they wouldn't have been able to use their full talent.

  • To Offside
    Sept. 23, 2008 11:50 a.m.

    Offside is totally necessary. The field is HUGE, and play can jump all over the field in a matter of seconds. Imagine what a problem it would be if the offense could just cherry pick and place one guy down near the goal just waiting for someone to boom it over the defense.

    You'd probably say "that's the defense's fault for not covering that dude." Except there are only three defenders (normally) and if one of them had to stay back and cover any cherry pickers then it would open all sorts of holes in the defense. The field is just too big to have to defend everything in front of you and everything behind you at the same time.

    That's not a very good explanation. Anyone else want to give it a try?

  • Vladee
    Sept. 23, 2008 11:24 a.m.

    I agree,
    I cant stand the way people flop right and left to try and get a penalty, then they are awarded a penalty kick, give me a break. It just kills me to watch that. Offside is a bad rule, get rid of it and make the defense defend someone.

  • Here's why it makes sense:
    Sept. 23, 2008 11:22 a.m.

    That's a good question, but the truth is offside makes total sense.

    If there were no offside, attackers would be free to cherrypick right in front of the opponent's goal. That would force defenders to stay back near their own goal. So you can imagine this cluster of defenders & attackers in front of each goal and tons of space in the midfield. Hence the ball would spend most of its time in the midfield and scoring chances would be fewer.

    And if there were no offside, there would be no 1v1's because nobody could get behind the last defender.

    Offside is a good rule - that's why many other sports (like hockey and football) have it as well.

  • Offside
    Sept. 23, 2008 10:30 a.m.

    If someone can convince me that the offside rule has any value at all, I'll join the soccer bandwagon as well. Here are my thoughts as it is:

    All the rule does is take away the accountability of the defense. Why not make the defense actually defend rather than bailing them out every time they allow the other team to run past them?

    I don't want an explanation of the rule. I understand the rule already. I want to know why it makes sense to have such a rule.

    Oh, by the way. My favorite part of soccer is when a player takes a dive and the dudes with the stretcher run out to take him off the field. That entertains me every time.

  • Allez RSL
    Sept. 23, 2008 9:41 a.m.

    Dunno about high school, but ties in professional leagues give each team a point in the rankings. A win earns you 3 points and a loss 0. As the season is played out, teams that can go on the road and earn points (even 1 point by tieing the game) advance to the detriment of the home team, who "should have" been able to win with their home-field advantage.

    A tie is a result, and, usually, it's better for one team than for another. When RSL tied LA three weeks ago, that was definitely a victory for the shorthanded Galaxy (who were without Donovan or Beckham) and a loss for RSL.

    Also, anyone who says that any sport lacks skill -- soccer, football, golf, baseball -- is either not paying any attention, or is just baiting an argument. Sorry, Jim. I'm glad you're coming 'round to soccer, but your initial opinion that soccer doesn't require any skill was just plain ignorant. You think it's boring, fine. I think that baseball is boring -- I don't, however, think that there isn't any skill involved; that would be stupid.

  • Robinho...
    Sept. 23, 2008 9:32 a.m.

    ..good to have you following the game. If you get a chance, tune in and see what I can do with Manchester City in the EPL.

  • Soccer gets better
    Sept. 23, 2008 8:55 a.m.

    A suggestion to loving the sport more.Try and see it from a coaches point of view. Talk about what a team needs to do to improve the game. Maybe control the ball more. Not give it up so easy. Take more shooting opportunities. Pass more, learn to be better in the air, a stronger defense, midfield or lack of forward abilities, and so forth. Also as a side note games only end in ties during some preseason games and during region play. The games that really count or need a winner can not end in a tie because like all sports there is a champion team. So, don't give up on the sport but learn more because as the season approaches the tournament it gets more intense and better all around with the top teams reaching the finals! Also ties are good because the teams usually play each other twice so it is nice to see how the meet the second time around and what adjustments they make.

  • Offside
    Sept. 23, 2008 8:40 a.m.

    Anonymous, actually the offside rule is not that complicated, especially when you compare it to some of the rules in other sports. The problem is you haven't spent any time trying to learn it and/or you haven't had anyone competent around you to explain it. Offside is really quite simple - simplified, it says an attacker cannot receive the ball unless there are two defenders closer to the goal than he is.

    Compare that to some of the rules in American football. Ineligible receiver downfield, illegal contact, illegal formation, breaking the huddle with 12 men, intentional grounding (just to name a few) are far harder to learn & understand than offside. The difference is you've taken the time to learn them.

    Soccer is actually a very simple game with very few rules compared to football - that's one reason it appeals to so many people. Give it more than a cursory glance and maybe you'll agree.

  • Football fan
    Sept. 23, 2008 8:19 a.m.

    I've seen plenty of ties that feel like wins, and plenty that feel like losses. There is as much emotion in ties as wins.

  • uvsoccerfan
    Sept. 23, 2008 7:47 a.m.

    First of all there is no offsideS rule in soccer. You need to know the rules before you say anything.
    OFFSIDE rule yes.
    I don't like to say anything bad about any other sport. I enjoy all sports even golf.
    But to say soccer is boring. Whats up with baseball you have a pitcher and a batter. one throwing a small ball and the other trying to hit it. No hitter game all the players are standing around waiting to make a play. Wow thats a lot of fun to watch.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 23, 2008 7:29 a.m.

    It is a boring spectator sport though we ahd peple that said it was sager and kept you in better shape than football. Some schools have soccer instead of football. Football is much more fun to play and the offsides rule is very confusing.

  • growing on you
    Sept. 23, 2008 7:23 a.m.

    It is not that hard to have soccer grow on you. Fungus grows on feet too.

  • ccb1212
    Sept. 23, 2008 6:30 a.m.

    Welcome to the soccer bandwagon. We are happy to have you on board. Now you need to find a way to cover the opening game of RSL's new stadium. That is going to be a fun game to be at.

  • and RSL fan
    Sept. 23, 2008 4:19 a.m.

    Good for you! We are happy for your conversion.