By Bronson Staloviak

Every four years, the World Cup brings the pageantry and excitement of the “beautiful game” to Americans. While there are some things Americans can immediately appreciate about soccer such as drinking to excess, screaming epithets set to the tunes of nursery rhymes, and inexplicably talking like a British person only about soccer, the game remains less popular than American sports in the United States. As an American, I have some ideas to bring the sport more in line with our American ideas of sporting competition that will make the game even more exciting and palatable “across the pond.”

Soccer only has one way to score — put the ball into the net. Football, America’s favorite sport, features numerous scoring opportunities. Teams can score by moving the ball across the goal, kicking it through the posts, tackling someone in the endzone and successfully infiltrating the other teams’ sideline to steal their Gatorade thirst-quenching equipment and spirit it across the field before heartily drinking from it with elaborately-decorated goblets. Imagine how exciting it would be for soccer teams to earn fractional points by kicking the ball not only at the goal but at specially designed points or armored children sprinting across the field at fifteen minute intervals.

Americans delight in basketball’s soaring displays of agility. The most exciting play in basketball is the slam dunk, when a team is able to get past the fortress walls, viper pits, oil cauldrons, and pikemen that opponents can set up as part of their “zone defenses” with elaborate basketball siege machinery. This is why guards like Chris Paul and Stephen Curry have become NBA superstars; their smaller, slighter frames allow them to soar further in the catapult and air cannon apparatus so important to the modern game. Soccer currently only allows a single unarmed goal keeper, and defenders may fearlessly traverse opponents’ territory without encountering a single moat or motte and bailey.

Baseball’s greatest pitchers are able to summon armies of falcons to distract hitters with their blood-curdling shrieks and incessant pecking. This is called “being in the zone.” Soccer goalies should be able call upon falcons, seabirds, or even clouds of stinging, biting insects during setpieces. The use of diverse ecosystems of claw-wielding, venom-spewing pests meshes perfectly with soccer’s global appeal.

Nothing matches the worldwide enthusiasm for the World Cup. My suggestions only add some subtle improvements to the “beautiful game” taken from our great American sporting traditions like car-joust, bear-taunting, and hunting the ultimate prey: man. As Americans embrace soccer in greater and greater numbers, we can make contributions to the game we all love.