Crown Legacy FC goalkeeper Isaac Walker celebrates after winning the goalie wars segment of the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge

MLS have just revived the most absurd format ever – and Aaron Ramsdale loves it

The MLS has brought back Goalie Wars as a part of its annual All-Stars Skill Challenge, and it’s immediately become the very pinnacle of football competition. 

Seriously. If you’ve never seen it before, then you’re missing out on what should be the future of the beautiful game. We’re talking scrap the whole straight-to-penalties thing in the League Cup and replacing it with Goalie Wars. It’s that good.

If you’re not chronically online like us or don’t have a somewhat bizarre fascination with MLS culture of yesteryear, chances are you’ve never heard of goalie wars.

It’s a game that sees two goalkeepers – obviously – competing against each other for a short burst of time. On a small pitch, each keeper guards a goal and must score past the other one, using either their feet or their hands. One takes a shot, then the other goes straight away.

Goalie Wars sounds and looks incredibly American. Like if you were to ask the Americans to come up with a way of simplifying football, this would be it. But while European football fans love to find reasons to bash the American game, Goalie Wars is simply flawless.

In fact, we’re behind over on this side of the pond for not letting it become anything more than a fun training drill for goalkeepers at grassroots level.

MLS runs its famed All-Stars Skill Challenge every year in the European football off-season, which often results in big-name players on pre-season tours taking part alongside some of the biggest stars in the American top flight.

You’ve probably seen the silly crossbar challenges and shooting drills, but when you lay eyes on the art of goalie wars for the first time, you’ll never want to watch a boring penalty shootout ever again.

Come on. That’s possibly the most ridiculous yet simultaneously enthralling two minutes and 44 seconds of football you’ll watch for a long time.

Absurdly fast-paced, lapped up by the crowd, and intensified with bright lights and colours of each keeper’s kit. You can see how knackered they are by the end of it, too, so don’t take the game as some big joke.

A minute or two of goalie wars at this pace is not for the average player. No. It’s merely further proof that keepers are built differently. It’s their spot in the limelight and they lap it up.

The real acid test to all of this is Aaron Ramsdale. Take a closer look at that colony of green shirts huddled around the advertising board, and you’ll notice the Gunners’ number one sat on the floor – away from his colleagues – completely hooked on the game in front of him like a kid in a candy shop.

We’ve not even got to the best bit, yet. Winning keeper Isaac Walker, of Crown Legacy FC, was issued a championship belt for winning the competition.

A championship title belt. In football. We are entrance music and pyrotechnics away from sheer, unbridled perfection, here.

In an age where UEFA seem very keen to rip up the rulebook and tamper with the rules and regulations of European competition to no end, we may as well start making these radical changes fun if they’re sticking around.

Let’s give MLS their much-deserved flowers, here. They’ve nailed it by bringing it back.

In fact, consider this the beginning of an official campaign to bring goalie wars back across the pond and use it everywhere possible. Immediately.

You can watch every single MLS match from wherever you are in the world with an MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

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