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Greg Schwem Headshot

If Soccer Parents Ran the World Cup

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As the World Cup ambles toward completion, the much-maligned Fédération Internationale de Football Association continues holding its breath in hopes that the "did he or didn't he/yuck, I guess he did" biting incident involving Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez will go down as the tournament's most controversial moment. That, or Dutch winger Arjen Robben's boo-boo, resulting in a winning penalty kick that knocked Mexico from the tourney.

My advice to FIFA? Don't bet on it.

I've seen more arguments, protests, alleged rules violations and near brawls in one of my 12-year-old daughter's club soccer games. Sure, all are parent-driven but since, I assume, all World Cup participants have parents, it's only a matter of time before the world's finest footballers' mommies or daddies cry foul. FIFA, I've read the World Cup rule book. Save yourself future agony and consider making the following changes, preferably immediately, but at least before the 2018 tournament commences. Most will make no sense; just bear in mind who you're dealing with.

  1. Players must all be from the same country... unless somebody finds a really awesome goalie from another country and can somehow, some way, get him to play for our team without anybody finding out.
  2. Play will take place on an officially sanctioned field. The winning team will play its next game one hour later on a field at least 90 minutes away.
  3. Matches may not start unless both teams have at least seven players. If one team does not have seven players, hold everything because the coach just got a text saying the seventh player is on his way and would have been there on time if these stupid email directions from the team mom made any sense at all.
  4. Play will also not begin until someone fixes that dangerous rut near the penalty arc. We all know what happened to Connor at last week's game.
  5. Each match will be officiated by a sanctioned referee, but not that guy we had last time because he sucked. Seriously, all he did was call fouls on our players and NOT ONCE did he call a foul on the other team even though they were guilty of AT LEAST three handballs.
  6. The referee will call offside penalties as long as he realizes that their team is always offside and we never are.
  7. If a referee is injured or temporarily incapacitated, he probably had it coming.
  8. Water breaks are permitted at any time. So are breaks for orange slices, juice boxes and trail mix. All players must sit under a shaded tree during halftime.
  9. Flopping or feigning injury is strictly forbidden. On that note, any legitimately injured player should remember that soccer is a contact sport and to just "tough it out" and keep playing. Injured players not willing to adhere to this rule should "quit now and go join the marching band or something!"
  10. Commercial advertising will be permitted on uniforms only if the sponsor owns an ice cream parlor, Dave and Busters, pizza establishment or some other cool place to hold the team party.
  11. All teams must play at least one match at Disney World. (Travel expenses are the player's responsibility).
  12. Only one coach may be on the sideline and must be sanctioned by the league. However, there is no limit to the number of unsanctioned "coaches" who can sit in the stands and loudly dispense advice on topics ranging from, "How come we're not passing more?" to "Don't let him get away with that Justin. Push back!"
  13. Remember, there are no losers in World Cup. Everybody gets a trophy.

Copyright 2014 Greg Schwem distributed by Tribune Content Services, Inc.