Why I Think You Will Love Pique’s Kings League

01/28/2023

A friend told me about Pique's new soccer league, and I have to say, I looked into it and became a huge fan. And I bet you will become a fan once you learn about it. I'm writing this to help bridge that gap.

My favorite part of the King's League is that it doesn't pretend to be soccer- it is of its own creation. The closest it comes to soccer is the two goals and the markings of the field. Outside of that, it is something else altogether.

It is essentially a mixing and matching of rules from other sports to create a new entity where entertainment and unpredictability are first and foremost. 

Let's start with the shortened field, 40-minute games, and 7 versus 7 limits. My favorite part is what is known as a golden card. Before each game, each team will choose one of 5 golden cards and can choose to play it at any point. The cards can award an instant penalty, remove a player from the other team for two minutes, rob a card, the next goal scored counts as double, or a joker card where you get to see and pick any of the cards you want.

Take a situation that happened where a team was down by one goal late in the game and played a golden card to award themselves a penalty. Well, the twist on top of a twist was that the other team had a rob card, so they stole the penalty and scored to go up by two goals. The scenes were wild. The kind of high stakes and unpredictability that leave you shocked and wanting more.

Then there's their version of yellow and red cards. If a player gets a yellow card, he sits out for two minutes, whereas a red card is five minutes. There's also VAR in an entertaining form that resembles the NBA and NFL. A team only gets one VAR review per game and can use it for any moment. If they're right, they get another one, but if wrong, they don't get VAR for the rest of the game. And there are no ties if the score is even at the end of regulation, then a penalty shootout ensues. But even the Pks are different. This time a penalty is not from a set spot. The taker has to dribble and take the keeper on 1-on-1 like the MLS rules of old.

There are other rules, such as a sprint to the ball from the goalline to start the game and a twist to who can and can't play in the league.

Before the season, the league held showcases where players tried out and were selected to be part of a player pool. The owners of the 12 teams, consisting of 10 famous YouTubers and two legends of the game (Iker Casillas and Sergio Aguero), then engage in an American sports-type draft and select their roster of 10.

But there are two additional roster spots for each team, one they can use on a current professional player and the other on an ex-professional player.

Chicharito has already made an appearance in the league along with Sergio Aguero and Iker Casillas. And perhaps the most intriguing was an anonymous current professional player in La Liga who played in a Rey Mysterio-esque mask to maintain his secrecy as he had not received permission from his professional team to play.

Pique and his co-owners have essentially hand-picked the most fun rules from other sports, some suggested and voted on by fans on Twitter, and mixed them into a perfect blend of entertainment and soccer. It's soccer done in the way you and your friends may have constructed it if you came up with the rules in your childhood. And most enjoyable for me is that they do not mean to replace organized soccer as we know it, like when FIFA cooked up their awful suggested rules a year ago to "modernize" the game. 

No, this is more self-aware and sophisticated; it is a unique entity and a ton of fun.

If you haven't watched a game yet I suggest you do it soon, you won't regret your decision. There are plenty of matches to go. Each team will play the others twice, so 22 games each, and we are only four games into the season. Games are every Sunday, and you can watch them on Twitch or on the team owner's YouTube account. I don't have a favorite team yet, I'll try to remain neutral as long as possible, but that goes out the window if I see someone like Cesc Fabregas or Ronaldinho lace up the boots for a game.


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