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Change The Game Blog – The Pitch 2


Welcome to the Change The Game Blog!

This week and throughout May we have been looking at some of the concepts in the book that started it all, Peter Hoehne’s book 2026 North American World Cup.  We will use excerpts from the book to look at the individual concepts and provide some additional concepts for those that need it , today we look at the pitch, what it is today and how we might change it to suit the modern game.

via Iryna Mylinska at www.shutterstock.com

Relegation lengths are:

Length (sidline): Minimum 100 yards, maximum 130 yards.

Width (end line): Minimum 50 yards, maximum 100 yards.

In 1897 the maximum length of the field was reduced from 200 yards to 130 yards, and this is where we are today. 

For international matches FIFA specifies a range for the field length of 110 yards to 120 yards and the range of the width from 70 to 80 yards.

How does this compare to a National Football League (NFL) field in the US?  The NFL field length is 100 yards and width is 53 1/3 yards (160 feet). American Fans of professional sports can immediately see an opportunity for improvement.

Law #1
The US games will be played on the NFL sized field of play in the 2026 World Cup tournament.
The excitement of the tighter game will be electrifying for the US fans, and fans around the world may push for the smaller field in their counties. We can expect more exciting play in the smaller field, especially in conjunction with the New Generation Rules.

2026 NORTH AMERICAN WORLD CUP : Capturing The New Generation Fan (HOEHNE, 2020)



The pitch size is something we have commented on before, but we thought it was worth revisiting through the lens of the book’s take on the subject.  Let us know your thoughts, should the American stadiums’ limitations be accepted, or should they have to find a way to make the field as large enough to meet standard size?

2026 Ones To Watch – Charles-Andreas Brym


Charles-Andreas Brym has a rather unique path to becoming a professional footballer.  At a young age, Canadian players must leave home to play somewhere they can be seen by professional clubs or colleges, but Charles made that same journey twice. Once in his early life moving from France to Canada with his parents, and then to pursue his soccer dreams he moved back to France to join Lille OSC Academy. 

After playing for the Lille youth academy, he signed a professional contract with the club on July 4th, 2018.  He went on to score 12 goals in 30 games for the Lille B side in the same year and has since been loaned on to Belenenses SAD of the Portuguese Primeira Liga, and Mouscron of the Belgian First Division.  His impressive appearances for Lille B and on his loans earned him three caps for Canada’s Men’s team where he scored one goal as a substitute against Barbados in a friendly.  In another case of Brym being opposite of most, after his 3 full caps, he took part in the youth setup in the U23 CONCACAF Olympic qualifying campaign for Canada, making 4 appearances as they came up just short of qualifying in the semi-finals. 

Normally this is where I would put in some video evidence of his massive talent, but Brym seems to be a bit of a mystery as far as YouTube is concerned.  For now check out his stats on Sofa Score and I think you will agree that he could be one to watch for Canada over the next decade and in the 2026 World Cup.

Click to see more on Charles!

Change The Game Blog : Time-Outs


This week we continue to look at the concepts in the book that started it all, Peter Hoehne’s book 2026 North American World Cup: Capturing the New Generation Fan.  We will use excerpts from the book to look at the individual concepts and provide some additional context for those that need it. This week we explore an addition to the game that will be familiar to fans of a variety of sports, Time-Outs.

Time outs are an additional New Generation feature for 2026.

Two timeouts are available per half. A team can call a time out when there is a stop in the play.

The advantages are obvious. The players on both sides gain a short break. The coaches are able to provide some timely strategic instruction. This helps the players to play their best, creating the best entertainment value for the fans.

2026 NORTH AMERICAN WORLD CUP : Capturing The New Generation Fan (HOEHNE, 2020)

Football conservatives might think that timeouts would be a move to appease American fans, but if you think the game is not broken up by teams who need a breather already, you are quite mistaken.  When a team is ahead and needs a break in play to calm nerves and talk thing over what do players do?  An experienced player will dive, fake an injury, take his time coming off the field, waste time taking a set piece or throw-in; all things that fan from around the world hate.  Why not take one of the incentives for diving away and just allow teams a time out?

I know that is a little bit out there, but that is just one example of a benefit of time-outs, I bet if you really gave it a shot you could come up with some too.  The inclination to be a football conservative is only, after all its OUR game – what happened with the European Super League showed that – but we must keep an open mind in order for the game to continue to grow and evolve like it has in generations past!

João “Johnny” Lucas de Souza Cardoso


Johnny – as he is commonly referred to- is a player you might not have heard of, but he spent the 2020 campaign making 21 appearances for the top Brazilian League’s (Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A) 2nd place finisher, Internacional.  Admittedly until last year we had not heard of him either, but after his call up to the USMNT in 2020 and his Internacional performances, we had to take a closer look. 

Beira Rio Stadium, Internacional’s home ground. Photo via Israel Cidade on Wiki Commons

Born in Denville, New Jersey, in his early childhood Johnny’s Brazilian parents decided to move back home, a decision that seems to have worked in their son’s favor.  Soon after the move he joined the Internacional youth academy where he worked his way up to the U20 team before his 18th birthday. 

On January 1, 2020 he signed his first professional contract with the club.  From there he went on to score a few goals for the first team garnering him the US Men’s National Team call up and his first stint of attention from the North American media.  We could go on about his attacking talent and natural confidence on the ball, but why don’t you just watch for yourself!

via USMNTvideos Youtube page

There is no question that Johnny could be one to watch for the USMNT in 2026, but I would not be shocked to seem him on the international scene much sooner than that.

Change The Game Blog – Shot Clock


Throughout May we will be looking at some of the concepts from the book that started it all, Peter Hoehne’s book 2026 NORTH AMERICAN WORLD CUP Capturing The New Generation Fan.  We will use excerpts from the book to look at the individual concepts and provide some additional context for those rules and suggestions that need it.

This week we will take a look at a concept that will be very familiar to basketball fans, the shot clock.

File:Brooklyn Nets vs NY Knicks 2018-10-03 td 142 - 1st Quarter.jpg

Football fans are frustrated to no end at the lack of shots on net and not just in America.  In America, however, this is a big turn off for a large part of the potential fan population. 

The ‘over and back’ rule will help; motivating the offense to keep the ball in the opponent’s half.  It’s not enough.

For 2026 a shot clock will be adopted.  To ensure the appropriate offensive excitement in this New Generation environment: a three minute shot clock will be implemented.  Once the team establishes possession of the ball they will have three minutes to take a shot on net or else the opposing team is awarded a goal kick.

2026 NORTH AMERICAN WORLD CUP : Capturing The New Generation Fan (HOEHNE, 2020)

This would certainly represent a huge change in how the game is played, what do you think?  Would the introduction of a shot clock introduce new motivation for players to play faster, and thereby providing fans a more exciting game?  If you do not think so what would the result be in your eyes, looking forward to hearing from our readers on this one!

The Son Heung-Min Story


Son Heung-min has been flying down the wing for Tottenham Hotspur for what seems like a lifetime in modern football. There is no doubt by anyone’s standard, Son is one to watch for Korea in any competition they enter. He was in the news this week for being inconsolable after a cup final loss to Manchester City, nearing the age of 30 Son is nearing the end of his prime, let’s look at his journey to the London Club, it certainly is anything but the standard.

Son started his professional journey far from where he grew up in Chuncheon, Gangwon, South Korea, with Hamburger SV at the age of 16. Playing with them for most of his youth career until he signed his first professional contract with the club in 2010. That same year he got his first cap for the South Korean first team and has since scored 26 goals in 89 appearances.

At Hamburger, his performances in his Bundasliga debut seasons gained enough attention to attract transfer offers, seeing him ultimately end up with Bayern Leverkusen for a reported ten million Euros. . In his final full Bundasliga season he scored 17 goals in 42 matches, an amazing goal rate for a winger. That season got Tottenham’s attention and they paid 30 million Euros for the Korean Star. Son’s accomplishments alone are amazing, but when you consider his constant battle to try and avoid mandatory Military service makes it that much more impressive.

In South Korea, all men are conscripted into the military and must perform compulsory military service, anywhere from 18 to 36 months depending on the branch. To avoid this Son had to win an international title with his national team. In 2014 he asked to leave Leverkusen, but the club denied his request. With only a few years left until he would have to be conscripted in 2018 Son went with South Korea to the 2018 Asian games and won the gold medal. This guaranteed that Son could keep playing for Spurs, and more importantly, keep blessing our television screens and social media timelines with goals like this.

Via Tottenham YouTube Channel

European Super League – Part 2


Last week we talked a little but about the European Super league.  Let’s take a short look into open and closed leagues, what they mean for the football culture, and the benefits for places like North American football leagues could have from moving to an open system. 

If you are a fan of the NHL, NBA, NFL, or MLB, you might have been thinking “what is the big deal?” sounds like any one of these leagues and they are super successful.  You are right! The – 30 or so – teams in those leagues are successful, but what if I told you there is a system where there could be 100 or even 200 professional teams are all vying for the same trophies, what would the benefits of that be?

Firstly, the idea that underpins all the benefits of an open system, when everyone has a chance to win the ultimate prize, they are incentivized to play the best football.  Using the USA as our reference point, MLS is widely regarded as the top league in the nation but how many teams have a shot at winning the 2026 MLS Cup?  Teams who are in the league now, or any club who can produce the franchise fees to get into the league between now and then.  When you compare that to the Premier League potentially any team within the top 5 divisions could work their way up to the top division and win the Premier League Trophy.  I admit it is highly improbable, but in 2009 – when Leicester was in League 1 – I do not think many would have picked them to be champions of England six years later when they went on to win it all. 

When hundreds of clubs in the know if they put in the work to get results, they will have a chance to be at the absolute pinnacle of football in the country, it does more than just motivate the current players.  Sure, a club like Detroit City FC has created a great following and offer some good football on the field, but imagine how much more buy in they could get from the community if there was a chance they might move up to the MLS one day.  Would more fans attend the games?  Would more companies be willing to sponsor?  Maybe it would inspire more Detroiters to put their kids in football.  Certainly, when you have a chance for promotion – or outside of sport a chance to move up in life – it can have a lasting and far-reaching impact. 

Tanking. I hate tanking.  I could go on and on about the value of the #1 draft pick vs #2 but really, what is most important about tanking is it incentivizes teams and clubs to play AS BAD as possible.  Wait a minute, is football not supposed to be an entertainment product?  Unfortunately, I think most North American sports franchises have lost sight of the fact that the main product is the sport itself.   Relegation eliminates this problem, when you put a clubs’ league survival on the line, they will always have something to play for. 

So then, why is it that football communities around North America do not scream out “tyranny!” and put an end to the closed league system like the European Fans did? It is down to something that can not be bought like an MLS franchise, football culture.  Football is not just a sport in the streets of London, Paris, Madrid, or Milan, so when you try and take it away from the people it is more about sport to them.  It represents the ever-growing gap between rich and poor, it reflects the ugliest sides of the world we see today, football to some is all they have left.   Frankly I could go on, but I think the legendary Liverpool FC manger Bill Shankly said it best.

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death.  I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

The differences between the way North American fans treat their sports teams and how European supporters follow their teams are endless, but I think with the youngest generations being introduced to the game before long America will have a football culture of its own.

2026 Ones To Watch – Lucas Dias


How many parents would agree to send their child to a foreign country, across an ocean, and where they do not speak the language at 12 years old? 

Not many, but that is exactly what Lucas Dias’ parents did when they realized the potential that their son had in the game of football.  It is the reality for many Canadian and American players, if they do not move to Europe at a young age, they lose out in two respects; the coaching at top European clubs is of much higher quality than most – if not all – North American clubs.  Players who stay in North America often have a hard time being seen by top clubs at a young age to be recruited ‘before it is too late’. 

Dias has always been playing ahead of his time, when he was a youth player in Canada, he played 2 years up, when he went to Portugal, he was the youngest at their academy, and as of now he plays for the Porto U23 side and Canada’s U23 squad at only 18 years old.  To put that in perspective he is playing with people who had their drivers license before he turned 11, so what is so special about Lucas Dias?

Dias is a dynamic attacking midfielder and despite his young age plays with a clear understanding of the game, which is no surprise as he has been immersed football since his move to Portugal at 11 years old.  Check out this short documentary about his move from Canada to Portugal, you can see how much he puts into that pursuit at only 12 years old.  As he says himself, “I will do anything it takes to become it [a professional footballer].”

European Super League


Yesterday football changed forever.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester City, Juventus, Inter Milan, and AC Milan football clubs have announced they will be forming a new league called the European Super League.  An additional three founding clubs will be part of the league with an added five clubs every year based on the previous seasons’ achievements.

Making the news even more shocking UEFA and FIFA have come out and said that players and clubs will be banned from all (UEFA and FIFA) competitions and some reports have the football federations planning to sue the departing clubs for billions. That seems to include this years UEFA Champions League with three out of the four teams in the semi finals set to be booted from the competition. Is it finally time for a PSG Champions league triumph, at long last they lift the trophy, by default?

 UEFA Champions League game between Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Barcelona at BayArena stadium via: Ververidis Vasilis www.shutterstock.com

This is the latest step in the power consolidation in football that has been going on for decades- as long ago as the conversation about a super league began.  There have always been talks about a league like this forming for Europe’s biggest clubs to combine forces to suck up viewership, and more to the point, broadcast rights’ dollars. Although we do not know exactly what will come of this, there is no doubt that football in Europe will never be the same.

2026 Ones To Watch – Owen Otasowie


Owen Otasowie is yet another North American coming into Wolverhampton first team- and for that matter all over the UK, and the rest of the Europe’s top football leagues.  Born in America, he lived there until he was almost into his teens then his life took a sharp turn and he left to live with his Aunt in England because of family problems.  Soon after he arrived Owen began to sneak out of bedroom window at all hours to go to his first love, playing cage football in Peckham. 

After joining and playing for the Wolves’ academy throughout his teens, on January 1st, 2020 he made signed his first team contract with Wolves’ first team at only 18 years old.  Soon after that he made debut in the Premier League and marked his debut with a headed assist on a Daniel Podence goal.

Although he has played less than a thousand minutes since he inked his first team contract, his physicality and cool demeanor has impressed in his time on the pitch.  The physical central midfielder was so impressive in his limited appearances for Wolves he gained his first cap for the USMNT in November of 2020.   The fact that there is any doubt a Premier League player would be in the squad for the USMNT speaks volumes about the growth of soccer talent in the USA. 

Musa, Adams, Mckinnie, all American central midfielders with big European clubs, it is no wonder Otasowie has just made his debut less than a year ago.  Although there are so many talented players at his position with the national team, there is no question at his young age that he has not reached his full potential yet.  Especially when we are talking about 2026, he will certainly be one to watch for the USMNT in the World Cups to come. 

Check out some of Owen’s best moments of 2021. via VD Comps YouTube Channel