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Why the United States will never EVER win the World Cup
The popularity of soccer in the United States is skyrocketing, much of this is due to the availability of the major European Leagues to a larger US audience. A lot of credit must be given to the exploits of the United States Men's National Soccer Team in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where they performed admirably, but were knocked out in the round of 16 stage. However, it was the same stage they were knocked in 4 years ago and progress is stagnate. While other power house nations are doing everything possible to expand and grow the standard of the sport in their country, we are falling even further behind. The level of investment and changes in structure and attitudes required to grow the sport to a level to win the World Cup is sadly infinitely insurmountable for the United States.
England is the home of soccer, and they are notoriously known to have underachieved in their attempts to win the World Cup again since their only triumph on home soil in 1966. Soccer or football as it is known in England is in-bedded into the souls of most of its residents. There are 92 professional teams in the country and more than 5,300 clubs all together. (http://thepyramid.info/asp/pyramid3.asp). Many of these teams have youth academies where kids start attending as early as the age of 6. Many of the bigger clubs even have schools within the academy, so the kids spend nearly all of their time away from home at these facilities. Technique, tactics, football know-how is engraved in these young players at such a young age, that puts our kids at a disadvantage. In fact Lionel Messi arguably the greatest soccer player of all time moved from Argentina to Spain at the age of 11 in order to join the well renown La Masia, the youth academy of one the greatest teams in the world FC Barcelona. (http://www.lionel-messi.info/). The FA or the Football Association, the governing body of all things soccer in England invested $175 million into building St. Georges Park which acts as the country's national football center. This is a place where coaches earn their coaching badges, all 24 England teams from all age groups develop and learn to build the success of their national team. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2451423/England-training-centre-St-Georges-Park-celebrates-year-anniversary.html). Let's not forget the most popular league in the world, the Barclay's Premier League makes its home in England. However, even with the incredibly high popularity of the sport and the massive amount of investment that has been put forward in order to succeed on the world stage, England have only mustered a semi-final; in 1990 since their sole triumph in 1966. Compare their efforts with the United States who are miles behind in youth development. The idea of these soccer academies where the kids attend school is unfathomable to most Americans. The coaches we have here are no where near the quality of the coaches in Europe. I don't for one second believe that America will invest what is required of it to obtain the high standards needed in youth development to produce world class players as they are in Europe.
Germany won the 2014 FIFA World Cup; in an impressive fashion it must be said.This is a country that was previously 3 time World Cup champions and had an incredibly unprecedented 16 straight World cup quarter finals. However, Berti Vogts the German National Team manager in the 1990's warned promising young talent was few and far between. (http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/year-zero-how-germany-restructured-itself-and-why-it-couldnt-work-elsewhere). However, Germany did nothing until their disastrous European Championship in 2000; where they failed to win a game. During the turn of the century they realized they needed to completely overhaul the structure of their youth development. The German FA (Football Association) and the professional clubs of Germany responded by launching the Extended Talent Promotion Program. This program helped build 52 centers of footballing excellence where young promising players were taught by the best. Also this program helped launch 366 regional coaching bases where 1300 full time professional coaches breed some of the best soccer players in the world today. This was not cheap by any means; $64 million a year were spent on this every year and that figure has now almost doubled. (http://www.fourfourtwo.com/features/year-zero-how-germany-restructured-itself-and-why-it-couldnt-work-elsewhere). The United States have benefited directly from this program as their manager Jurgen Klinsmann is a former German World Cup winner as a player and lead his country to a semi-final in the 2006 FIFA World Cup as manager. As the manager of the United States Men's National Soccer team he has sought out German footballers that went through this program who have eligibility to play for the United States. In fact 4 of the players (Jermaine Jones, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, John Brooks) in this previous World Cup squad were born and raised in Germany; Julian Green one of the most exciting talents in the game was born in Tampa but has lived in Germany for the better part of his life. ( http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/jun/19/nancy-pelosi/are-there-immigrants-2014-us-mens-world-cup-team/). 3 of the 4 goals scored by the USA in this summers tournament were scored by these players. Further more there are players born and raised in Iceland and Norway in the squad as well. What does this tell us? We in the United States are not producing enough top caliber players that can play on the biggest stage of the sport. The fact we have to recruit players who don't have many ties with America and in some cases struggle to speak English to play for our national side says a lot about our ability to develop and grow our own players.
If major European power houses such as England and Germany feel it is necessary to invest such vast sums to achieve their goals, the United States must take note. It is fair to say that soccer is not as big in our culture, therefore why should we throw millions at it? The answer is that the sport is growing exponentially. For the first time ever 12 to 17 year old teens are saying they prefer to play soccer over hockey. NBC Sports Group bought the rights to show the Barclay's Premier League (England's top league, arguably the world's) for $250 million over three years. Two years ago before NBC when FOX and ESPN had the rights 13.3 million people tuned in for Premier League coverage, and last year it was 31.3 million; more than double. The World Cup Final contested between Germany and Argentina was the most watched soccer game in US history with 26.5 million viewers tuning in. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/soccer/2014/05/13/nbc-says-4-9m-in-us-watch-premier-league-last-day/9056437/).
The notion that the United States would be dominant on the world stage if their best athletes played soccer is downright naive, insulting, ignorant, and just plain wrong. Many things that were stated previously disputes this as this is just an oblivious statement. FC Barcelona dominated world soccer in the late 2000's, with some calling them the greatest team ever assembled. They were lead by three men Andres Iniestia, Xavi Hernandez, and Lionel Messi who are considered by many as three of the finest players of this and any generation. They all stand at 5 feet 7 inches tall and all have very slim physiques. Athleticism helps, but in soccer technique and mental capacity is so much more important. (http://www.fcbarcelona.com/football/first-team/staff). With all things considered as long as soccer is played and the United States exists; two highly likely scenarios, it is with great regret that I can guarantee the United States will never hold the title of World Cup Champions.