Maybe the problem in the US is similar to the problem in the UK – and the reason our international teams never make an impact in tournaments. Namely that we are so obsessed with the domestic league, with making it the richest in the world, attracting the best players possible and so on, that we neglect the development of home grown players. The majority of players in the leagues of successful countries are local players (ignoring the “giants”) but the opposite is true in the UK and I suspect in the US too, with its obsession with advertising dollars and glamour.
You have simply to decide what comes first: your national team and the development of the sport nationally; or the lure of money and prestige from turning your league into an international showcase. Read more
One of my favorite players growing up was Eric Wynalda. I actually got to play a few minutes with him, while I was still in high school, before he exploded onto the scene in a big way. I remember the day he came back from playing against the Soviet Union in Paolo Alto to our club team game and did wind sprints after the game. I was just a high school kid at the time but it’s funny to me that even soccer journalists today don’t remember and/or don’t realize truly how good he was. Read more
The US fails to make the World Cup, and the people who care the most, aside from the players and coaches themselves, are people who are not even American. With American Football in full swing, Baseball playoffs, NHL and NBA both getting started, most Americans did not even know there was a national team Soccer game on last night. TVs did not even show it. If it wasn’t because I read an English newspaper like the Guardian I wouldn’t have known either. Soccer is maybe the 4th most popular sport in the USA.
It might even be tied or lower than the popularity of Hockey in the USA. Soccer was never going to catch big in this country (not like Football, Baseball and Basketball). Not when kids have so many sports to choose from at a young age.
I have a friend who has 3 sons who played Soccer in grade school but by the time they were in 7th grade (12yrs) they had chosen Football and Baseball respectively and his eldest actually got a sponsorship at a Division 2 College for Baseball. Both his daughters played Soccer but liked Volleyball more. Soccer just does not have the popularity of the much bigger sports in this country. While it may eventually, because of the large influx of Central American immigrants I doubt it will take over the big 3 sports in the USA. Talent just goes elsewhere, other sports or Europe.