By Steve Williams

For years we’ve heard many American sports fans say soccer isn’t exciting enough.

“Not enough scoring,” they say when the World Cup rolls around every four years.

For the fun of it, let’s put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak.

Would soccer be more popular in the eyes of USA sports fans if a goal was worth six points, and the United States’ first-round win over Ghana in this year’s World Cup had ended with a score of 12-6 instead of 2-1?

Take it a step further. What if soccer were to add an extra-point kick after each goal and rules were amended to include 3-point field goal kicks?

I can just see soccer purists shaking their heads. They like their game the way it is. Stoppage time and all.

On the flip side, would American football be less popular if a touchdown counted only one point and the game did not include PAT kicks, 3-point field goals or 2-point safeties? Instead of the Seahawks beating the Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, the score would have been 5-1. Instead of Butch Jones’ Vols losing 31-17 to the Gators last season, they would have lost 4-2.

Football purists are now shaking their heads.

A loss to the Gators in any sport, by any score, is no fun, I just heard one Vol fan shout.

One more observation about the low scoring in soccer. Of the first nine matches played in the current World Cup, three ended with a score of 2-1 and three others ended with a score of 3-1. How can you put out a ball board for entertainment purposes only with scores like that?

Timeout for a low-scoring update: Through the first 23 matches, eight ended with a 2-1 score, three ended 3-1 and three ended 0-0. Okay, nil to nil.

I’ve never gotten use to those red cards and yellow cards, either. But I guess the yellow flags our referees throw in the American version of football probably look just as odd to sports fans across the pond.

The best thing I like about the World Cup is seeing the patriotism it stirs among Americans. We’re definitely the underdogs in this sport, so each victory brings more aboard the bandwagon.

Winning the World Cup would be bigger than the Miracle on Ice and the Miracle at South Bend combined.

The United States’ opening win over Ghana was sweet. It came against an old nemesis that ended the USA’s run four years ago. The Americans, who were scheduled to battle Portugal Sunday night, have a pivotal match against Germany Thursday at noon.

Finally, have you noticed this year’s World Cup is much quieter than the 2010 World Cup in South Africa?

I never imagined I would say this – But I miss those vuvuzelas and the buzzing sound those horn-like noisemakers made and we heard every time there was a World Cup report aired on TV or radio four years ago.

The official noisemaker of this year’s World Cup is the caxirola. It sort of looks like a beehive and makes a sound similar to what you get when shaking a can of rocks.

The caxirola can still be purchased from FIFA, soccer’s governing body, but it’s been banned from all the World Cup stadiums in Brazil for safety reasons. Fans reportedly threw hundreds of the grenade-size noisemakers on the field to express their displeasure after their club team lost a game to a rival last year.

What a bummer. A World Cup without vuvuzelas is like a football game in Starkville without cowbells.