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Why limit the number of substitutions during a soccer game?


If there’s anything that can suddenly change the course of a soccer game it’s a substitution. So, why not allow more of them to add some sparkle to a game that seems stuck in a ‘frozen’ strategy?

Moving the players to a different position surely modifies the situation a little, but sending players with different characteristics into the game and much more important, with tons of NEW ENERGY and ready to fight, can really make a great difference.

When I see substitutions with the current mechanism, it’s always a very bureaucratic thing! The team fills out a form, the player is inspected by the assistant referee, has to stay in a fixed position until his team mate comes out (often walking in a kind of SLOW MOTION) taking a lot of time, without forgetting that this, often, is the only reason for the substitution!

One of the aspects that make a basketball game really enjoyable, is the constant turn over of the players on the field. The super-stars shouldn’t dilute their energy trying to make it last for the whole game. They can always give the maximum effort because, by going out a few minutes to rest and gets suggestions from the coaching staff about how to manage the game differently, they can go back fresh in body and mind, and continuing to give the maximum.

How many times in soccer, after a bad foul, have we seen players continue the game with the wrong attitude, looking only for physical revenge, no matter who the opponent is?

By going out for just a few minutes, he/she, can surely regain is/her composure and go back in the game with the original and correct attitude that he/she had at the beginning of the game.

Fans, naturally, like to see their favorite players always playing, but they are not made of iron! They, sometimes, need to rest. So, why make them skip games to rest, when they can easily play 20/25 minutes in both half times and make everybody happy?

Another great aspect, is that this will allow the utilization of all the players on the roster. This is great because the coaching staff, can see all the players in action and correctly judge them, under the pressure of a real game. In particular the youth players who, playing 10/15 minutes, can enter gradually into ‘stressful’ situations, in front tens of thousands of spectators! If you have only 2/3 substitutions, obviously they have to be super-calibrated because, a mistake, could be unfixable! But if we can constantly rotate all the players, we can always fix situations. It would also be great to see how the respective coaches constantly adjust the teams to face new challenges brought in by new players.

Please also consider this. For a team that already has had the 2 or 3 substitutions, if a players gets injured, they have to play in 10!!! Why do we have to do something so stupid? Why does a team have to be so penalized, just because one of their players gets injured? Sincerely, I can’t see why!

Naturally, this doesn’t need to become a nonsensical carousel of constant rotation that can only cause confusion so, let’s find the correct moment to do the substitutions, as constantly happens in some youth or amatorial leagues. The substitution could happen when the play is stopped and when the team that wants to have a substitution, has possession of the ball and will restart the play. Also what happens in footsal is very interesting.

Connected with the side line, there are 2 squares (one each team) in which the substitute player has to stay for the substitution. The player who’s coming out, has to enter into that little square, before the substitute can leave the square and enter the field so, only one player at time can be switched.

All the players would be checked by the referees, before the beginning of the game so, there is no need to do it during the game. The fourth official can easily be put in charge of this kind of fast substitution, with the little square expedient, the central referee doesn’t even need to know that the substitution has happened. There is no reason to stop the game for one minute, to have a substitution!

In a modern soccer game, that lasts 45 minutes per half, almost half of the time is spent NOT PLAYING!!! If we check the ’effective time‘, we’ll always see that the time in which the ball was in play, is no more than 22/25 minutes. Why not try to speed up the substitution procedure, and make the games more interesting and enjoyable?

So, in conclusion, why don’t we do this?

-All the players on the roster of 22, can be utilized during a game.
-A player that has been substituted, can go back into the game at any time.
-Have substitutions happen constantly, by coming out from the field and entering a square on the side line, outside of the field, where the substitute player is waiting. The fourth official will survey the procedure. The central referees don’t need to authorize the change.
-No additional time will be added to the games to compensate the time lost for the 4/6 substitutions of both teams.

Last consideration. This way of doing things, would make soccer much more similar to the other traditional American sports and for sure, would permit it to be more ‘accepted’ by American fans.

Coach Gianni

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Posted on 08 Oct 2007 by coachgianni
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