For the last 24 years the US men’s national soccer team has been ever present at the World Cup. They have progressed from the group stage four times out of the last seven tournaments and yet we continually mock them because of their over-zealous fans and hard working team ethic.
It is understood that the MLS is the ‘retirement home’ for former Premier League superstars, yet with franchise expansions, better stadium infrastructure and a growing fan base MLS has come along way since its induction in 1996. However just because MLS isn’t the most entertaining league in the world doesn’t meant that the Americans cant produce players.
11 of the 23 players selected by Jürgen Klinsmann for the World Cup do not play in the MLS and play abroad in the leagues such as the Premier League and Bundesliga. Compare that with England’s recent World Cup squad where 100% of the players came from the Premier League, a league where less than 55% of the players are English.
Currently grassroots soccer in America is well funded, well facilitated and well coached. Coaches in America are very eager to learn and take the best from different nations to apply to their own culture and style of football. Presently young coaches are paid quite handsomely to coach grassroots soccer whereas in England most coaches at grassroots level are volunteers or parents of a child in the team.
On a lighter note I believe their positive and supportive media have a part to play in the teams belief when playing in tournaments. The English media always seem to add heaps of unneeded pressure of our failing stars yet the American media support their national teams efforts through good and bad. It is also worth noting that England have played the US eleven times and have never beaten them in a competitive match, only winning friendly matches. These statistics help me make the bold prediction that the USA will reach a semi-final or final of the World Cup in the next 20 years.
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