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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Rasheed Wallace Of International Soccer

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is getting quite a reputation. After getting his first yellow card against Spanish League team Villareal, he got his second when he sassed the referee right in the referee's face. The talented striker has a penchant for getting into trouble, and he's marking himself for future yellow and red cards because of his attitude.

There's one huge difference, though, between soccer and other major sports. In the National Basketball Association, if you get tossed, your team gets to replace you in the lineup, so it still will be playing five on five. The same holds true for the NHL and NFL -- get tossed, and your team still can play at full strength. True, they might miss the tossed player, but they'll be playing with the same number of players as the other team.

That's not true for soccer. Get a yellow card, you're on probation for the game. Get two yellow cards, you're out of the game and your team plays a man down for the rest of the game. If two players get red cards, you play two men down from then on. And under certain circumstances, and I'll ask blog readers to chime in here, you also could miss subsequent games. For example, Rooney will miss England's next World Cup qualifier, against Austria, because he picked up a yellow card in each of his last two World Cup qualifying games.

It's not a whole lot of fun for a team playing a man down; skilled opponents can take advantage of it the same way good NHL teams can take advantage of power players. Imagine, though a power play for the entire game.

Somehow I think that Rasheed Wallace (and Charles Barkley before him) would have figured out alternative ways to vent their emotions if each time they were tossed from a game their teams would have had to play four on five. My guess is that after a few times of that happening, their teammates would have sent them a message in some fashion.

And it would involve more than putting shaving cream in shoes or itching powder in underwear. Probably a trip to the woodshed to speak frankly with the veterans about how to act.

For England to fare well in World Cup 2006, they'll need Wayne Rooney on the front lines, scoring goals. Without an effective Rooney, they have little chance of getting to the quarterfinals.


Anonymous Doug said...

Just to be clear, if a player is suspended from a subsequent game as a result of red or yellow cards acquired earlier, the team does *not* play a man down in those subsequent games.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post, I'm a huge soccer and basketball fan, but I never thought of implementing the soccer red card system in basketball...that might bring some positive attitude changes.

Just imagine though, Dick Bavetta storming up to 'Sheed, stopping face to chest and sorting through his chest pocket to find a red card while 'Sheed stares him down?

Or Violet Palmer chasing Antoine Walker down the court, yellow card held high?

12:50 PM  
Blogger eJojo said...


doug said what happens if a player gets a yellow-red car.

It is also possible that a player gets a red card without a prior yellow card, than his team has to play without him and after the game it will be decided for how many games he will be suspended. (At least 1 game, but often more)
And if a player gets only a yellow card in a game, this cards are collected and if he has 5 yellow card he will be suspended for 1 league game. (In the Champions League and the most other competitions a player is after 2 yellow cards suspended for 1 game.)

Greetings from Germany

6:27 AM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

Thanks for all of your comments, I really appreciate them. As you can guess, I am relatively new at following soccer. It would be interesting to apply the soccer rules to disqualifications/suspensions in football, basketball and hockey in the United States, as they would surely cut down on bad behavior.

9:15 AM  
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