The NPGL is Officially Underway; Our Thoughts on the Inaugural Match
The NPGL is Officially Underway; Our Thoughts on the Inaugural Match
By: Mike “Bud” McFarland
I have been fortunate enough to play in some great matches over my years playing soccer. I am proud to say that I was part of two championship teams at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and played professionally for several years before retiring from professional soccer in 2010. My experience with both organizations gave me valuable insight into how to run a successful team.
In addition to coaching, I am also the owner/operator of the Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC), which plays its home matches at Camping World Stadium. I believe that our club is one of the best in North America and we are currently competing in Major League Soccer (MLS). The MLS season begins March 8th and runs through November 30th.
We have had a few players sign contracts with other clubs during the off-season, but it seems like every player wants to stay with us. That’s fine by me because I want to keep winning trophies and making history.
Last year we won the USL Pro Championship. We were able to do so thanks in large part to our young squad, which featured many players that would go on to play for Orlando City B (OCB) in the first division of American soccer. I think this also speaks to the dedication of all the coaches at every level of play for the club.
I know that winning a Championship is never easy, but our guys made it look easy.
I was fortunate enough to win two championships with the UCF Knights during my college days. We were able to do so with a lot of hard work and dedication from everyone involved with the program. I still have very fond memories of those days and cherish them even to this day.
I try to instill that winning attitude in the guys that play for me.
Feeling a little nostalgic, I recently enrolled my son at UCF. I figure it would be a good way for him to get a good education while enjoying his youth.
Besides, who knows?
Maybe he has a future in soccer and could possibly follow in his old man’s footsteps!
But I digress. Let’s get to the subject at hand… the NPGL!
The NPGL is in its inaugural season and I have to say that they have done a very good job of promotion and recruitment. Everyone is talking about how this league will be the next big thing in contact sports.
I decided to take a look at their rulebook and had a few of my own suggestions to add. I immediately contacted NPGL Commissioner, Quincy Roberts, and was immediately put in contact with a few of the other owners. I recommended a few rule changes that I felt would make the game more appealing to the average sports fan.
-Automatic First Down: This would add another dimension to the running game and take some pressure off the passing game. It would also help quarterbacks that aren’t as mobile. I can see this making the position more valuable.
-Reducing Overtime: This one is kind of self-explanatory. Five minutes of overtime is a bit excessive.
How about we cut that in half?
Three minutes should be more than enough for a game to be decided.
Dropping the kickoff: I know this might ruffle some feathers, but how about we get rid of the kickoff and replace it with a free kick from the 35-yard line?
I know this seems kind of extreme, but it would really add to the strategy of the game. I’m thinking that the free kick should be able to be taken by anyone on the field (as long as they are behind the ball) and can be a drop kick or a place kick. The ball must travel at least to the start of the opposing teams’ 40 yard line in order for a return to occur. This will obviously limit the amount of returns and make players have to think carefully about their strategy.
-Punting: This is one of those things that should only be used as a last result. I’m thinking that a team can only punt if they are inside their own territory and within 35 yards of their own end zone. These types of kicks are very difficult and can turn into turnovers if the receiving team gets a hand on it.
-1st Down: This is something that I think would make the passing game more valuable. I would propose that after each first down, the offense must go back five yards further than the current first down. For example, if they get a 1st down on their own 40 yard line, then they must go back to the 35 for their next set of downs.
This would really put an emphasis on the passing game and open up more strategies for the offense.
-Game Length: Let’s face it, nobody wants to sit in the stands for a 3 hour professional football game. Nail it down to two hours or less. We also need to speed up the pace of the game.
None of this hour long television delay while coaches yell at their players during halftime.
That was just a start, but those were some of the big ones that I suggested.
I think my biggest concern is not any of these rule changes, but more about how the hell am I going to convince the rest of the league to use them?
Well, it looks like I’ve at least gotten a few people to listen…which is a lot more than I had yesterday. We’ll see how this goes.
Tune in soon for more exciting updates about the future of the NPFL!
LAST WEEK ON THE RUNDOWN:
It’s been a couple of interesting weeks since I took over as owner of the Aftermath Raiders. Last week I made a few major changes to personnel and shifts in our strategies for team success. I decided to bring in a new coach, which threw the team off for a little while, but they seem to be adapting.
Actually, they’ve been doing better than I could have hoped. The only issue is one of our better players seems to be holding out because he’s pissed that I hired someone else over him. It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks while this blow-over occurs, but I’m hoping it’ll all work out. I’m also trying to convince the rest of the team (and the rest of the league for that matter) to implement some major rule changes. I think I’ve got a good amount on board, but we’ll see what happens.
An odd thing did happen this week, and I’m still not sure how to take it. The necromancy professor from the magic college paid me a visit. He claims that he just wanted to meet the new owner of the Aftermath Raiders and congratulate me.
He also mentioned that he was very impressed with how well I did at the tryouts. Coming from him, that’s a pretty big deal. Anyway, we talked about a few things and I told him some of my plans for the future. Not surprisingly, he was completely against changing the rules. He also wasn’t very fond of my plan to hire a human coach in an effort to appease the rest of the league. He warned me that I was playing with fire and was going to get myself into trouble.
I’m hoping that’s not the case, but who knows?
This week’s game is an important one. We’re playing the Nightmare Fearless and it’s a divisional matchup. They’re a good team, but I think we can beat them if our guys are prepared for the things they might do.
I’m going to be meeting with the new coach after this meeting to go over some of our strategies.
Time to get to work!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Fighting Fair”: Zechariah Chafee, Jr., the Department of Justice, and the” Trial at the Harvard Club (PH Irons – Harvard Law Review, 1981 – JSTOR)
- There’s something happening here: The new left, the Klan, and FBI counterintelligence (D Cunningham – 2004 – books.google.com)
- NPGL Soundings Series: Summitry and Public Perceptions (C Bradford – 2011 – cigionline.org)
- Soundings Series: National Perspectives on Global Leadership (A Rozental, AF Cooper, B Carin, C Bradford, D Tussie… – 2009 – cigionline.org)