Can soccer leagues have different rules?

Soccer is one of the simplest sports there is. Kick the ball into the goal, score one point at a time, and don’t touch the ball with your hands. There are some more nuanced laws of the game, but overall the sport is fairly straightforward and simple. So the rules should be the same everywhere soccer is played, right? Well, not exactly.

Breaking the rules: soccer in America

You can’t talk about variant soccer rules without mentioning what we Yanks have tried to do with the sport over the years.

Other codes that stemmed from the sport, both here and abroad, like rugby, Australian rules, and American football, essentially eventually became entirely different games.

But here in the States, we’ve tried to “Americanize” soccer itself on more than one occasion.

Thinking the sport was too dull for American audiences, several rule changes were attempted to spice up the game. In the original NASL, the offside line was a new marking on the field 35 yards from goal. This was instead of the traditional midfield boundary where players could traditionally be considered offside.

They also did not have games end in ties. Instead, all matches tied at the end of regular time went to a shootout.

But not a standard spot-kick shootout. Instead, the NASL had players run up towards the keeper, similar to hockey shootouts. The keeper could come off his line, too. The shootout started from the 35-yard line, having to get off a shot before a shot clock expired.

In addition, the NASL utilized a countdown clock instead of the traditional upwards-moving time system.

An unusual points system was also adopted. Teams would get bonus points for goals scored each game, in addition to points for wins. Sometimes as many as six points for wins were given out.

In the 1990s, MLS initially carried over some of these rule changes, but eventually got rid of the quirks and now aligns much closer to the traditional game.

A big soccer rule not followed in…

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Author : Derek Reese

Publish date : 2023-11-20 22:26:23

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