Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

SANTAMARIA & CRAIGE | Soccer Needs All-Star Game


In a game filled with larger than life superstars — Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar — there is somehow no official all-star game across Europe’s five major leagues. Messi and Ronaldo are arguably two of the best five players ever, and while they play each other at least twice a year as part of El Clasico, they have never — and likely will never — play on the same team.

On the other hand, the NBA All-Star game is one of the premier events in the sporting world. While the game is often an afterthought filled with lackluster defense and too many dunks and long-range three-pointers, its spectacle is second to none. Moreover, recent changes to the all-star game have brought even more intrigue to the event.

Now, the players with the most votes from the Eastern and Western conferences will serve as the game’s honorary captains, selecting from a pool of players without conference restrictions. This change could very well mean that LeBron James and Kevin Durant — thought of as the two best players of this decade — can play on the same team.

The game’s meaning, according to the rule changes, also received a much-needed boost. The all-star game now has charity implications now, much to the pleasure of fans who far too often — and justifiably — complain about the boredom during the game.

Of course, this year is the first with these new rules in the NBA, but there is a lot of potential with these changes.

In the soccer world, there is rarely a time when superstars team up for single game events. The league seasons range anywhere from 34 to 38 games, with additional competitions — international commitments for players and interleague championship tournaments for teams — taking those totals well past 60 games in a single season.

In this situation, however, another proposal could see light.

Recently, the Premier League discussed a winter break, where teams would have no games and no training obligations during the holiday period of December, similar to the NBA’s Presidents’ Day weekend break. This addendum to the schedule would leave enough room for an all-star game event.

We, therefore, propose an all-star game for the top-five leagues in the world.

England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France are currently the top leagues in the game, and picking an all-star team would be no issue. With 25 total players on each squad — according to English Premier League rules — that takes us to 50 total players between the two teams, exactly 10 players per league.

While these ideas and changes are far from concrete, they hold a rare opportunity to give the world what it has craved for so long: Stars playing with stars. Naturally, there are teams that already have a star-centric dynamic, but there is still almost no league crossover.

Having two evenly-balanced, player-selected teams playing one two-legged game — where all the proceeds go to charity — is something that we all hope to see as viewers. Moreover, the team selection could very well be its own event with more advertising and marketing to come. The possibilities are endless for an NBA all-star style-soccer game.

Vanessa Craige and Paolo Santamaria are seniors in the School of Foreign Service and the College, respectively. Nothing but Net appears every Friday.

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