From the laboratory that is European soccer comes another idea to spice up the game, this time adding another international tournament on top of World Cup qualifying and European qualifying.
The idea: Get rid of (most) friendlies and play even more endless round-robin tournaments, this time with promotion and relegation schemes like the Davis Cup.
At Pro Soccer Talk, Nicholas Mendoza raises a few issues — fewer opportunities for the USA to play European countries, fewer chances for new blood to be tested in friendlies, etc. All worthy objections.
I’ll add another: We don’t need more international soccer games. We need fewer.
International soccer games are supposed to be All-Star games. Making them the focus of one’s soccer career is inherently unfair to the players. Born in Northern Ireland or Liberia? Sorry, Mr. Best or Mr. Weah — you’re stuck with it. Good player who simply doesn’t fit the style or personality of your current national team coach? Have fun watching from your couch.
Club soccer is the real deal. Managers put together rosters regardless of nationality (work permit and visa rules permitting) and mold those teams accordingly.
The promotion/relegation scheme isn’t bad. Why not use that for World Cup qualification or maybe European qualifiers?