The one most plausible reason to me why soccer/football is widely considered as being gay by US people is probably the fact that they used to suck at it. And you dont like a sport you cant play.
Let's take a look at Baseball (mind you, I have actually come to appreciate the sport).. but think of the impression it leaves on foreigners like me: guys in stripy tights holding their sticks ?
Who are you calling gay !?
To any person unfamiliar with the nuances of any such sport -- be it baseball, football or cricket -- it would appear ultimately boring and slow.
Europeans so far cant seem to grasp the excitment in a sport where 80% of the game consists of time outs.
(The real reason for the increasing popularity of american football in europe, or germany in particular, where I'm from, are the cheerleaders and the 'coolness' of posing with an american sport.)
But back to real football:
Just like any other sport soccer has had its attempts in making the game faster and more intresting by promoting offensive gameplay, however hesitantly: about 10 years ago the number of substitutions per game was raised from 2 to 3, as well as allowing an injured goalkeeper to be replaced even after 3 subs had been made. This is hopelessly useless if you ask me, with 22 guys on the pitch and usually reserved for injuries or 'letting the rookies on' during the last 5 minutes of a match.
Around the same time a rule was introduced that prohibited a keeper from touching a ball with his hands when being passed to by a teammate. But everyone quickly accomodated to that and it never really brought the desired effect.
From what I realize, the single most effective and desirable change in the game I could ever think of is simply allowing for unlimited substitutions in a game.
As a European I have played lots of soccer, natch. And trust me, its an exhausting game. Any game is of course, but with soccer the most exhausting part is basically just moving around on the pitch without ever touching the ball 95% of the time. And you have to move around alot. The field is big and youre constantly keeping up with the guy thats trying to get away from you. So usually you're already dragged out after 10 mins of play (even as a pro), or, by saving your energy for later use, you drag the game along by being too defensive and tactical, which makes it boring for spectators and players alike.
The concept of football in itself is great. It's easy to learn, easy to play but allows for complex development of skill and strategy.
One exciting aspect of soccer I have come to enjoy over the past years (as its becoming more popular) is indoor soccer, especially with the german league organizing a huge tournament each winter during the break featuring all 1st and 2nd division clubs as well as some of the best amateur clubs and selected foreign clubs to compete in single-day tourneys -- including first rounds, playoffs and finals -- all over the country which ultimately have a dozen teams qualify for the big tournament usually staged in Berlin.
What you see there is soccer how I like it: fast paced, continuous action, few referee calls, innovative gameplay and tricky shots, as well as high scoring of course.
They allow for unlimited substitutions and theres only 5 guys on a smaller pitch, plus a keeper. The clock is being stopped I think, and there is no out of bounds.
Thats what I like to see, and also how I prefer playing it myself.
The problem to faster and more high-scoring gameplay in regular soccer remains to be the limitation on substitions. It's just a drag really and things would be a lot different if a player could just go out and rest for 5 or 10 minutes and then go back in.
I know it works. As amateurs we often used to play like that and games usually ended up with higher scoring, sometimes in the double-digits on the same size of a pitch.
They should just introduce that at some point. No need for bigger goals or reluctantly moving some lines around on the field. Also, offside-calling will have to be much fairer. 2 out of 3 offside-calls are wrong and against the scorer -- especially with picky calls in a game where you arent measuring in centimetres -- that really doesnt promote offensive football much.