Why the Rest of the World Is So Much Better Than America at Soccer

It is a known fact that the United States of America is not recognized for its male Soccer team, on a global level. Although the country has improved throughout the years, it is still unable to take its place alongside the major global Soccer powers, such as Spain and Brazil. Somehow, Americans are unable to showcase their talent on the soccer pitch, and it is not because they lack it, but because youth is not allowed to come forward. 

A Little History of Soccer and the U.S.

In the first half of the 20th Century, the three major sports in the U.S. were Boxing, Baseball, and Horse Racing. Although college football was popular to some extent, professional football was just starting to get famous. In 1869, American football and soccer were introduced in the U.S. 

In 1930, despite Soccer not being popular among Americans, the U.S. team still managed to rise to the third position out of 13 countries in the first World Cup. Ranking 3rd among the 13 countries also didn’t make Americans like the sport.  

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Why Americans Do Not Excel at Soccer 

Despite having all the essential tools, Americans haven’t been able to make waves in the field of Soccer. Let’s dig deep into the reasons. 

1. The Pay to Play Policy 

The core reason behind the messy Soccer department of the U.S. is its “Pay to Play” policy.  Soccer in America is considered a rich man’s sport. Many unremarkable kids in the inner cities and areas of the U.S. may possess greater talent than the current players, playing on an international level. However, these kids won’t ever be able to reach their full potential, because of not having enough money. They can’t attend expensive Soccer camps (costing anywhere from $800 to $1500 per week), to work on the skill that inhibits them from entering the professional world of Soccer. 

On the other hand, an upper-class family will quickly sign up for the Soccer camp for their kids, to help them get busy and develop “healthy habits”, even if the kid does not possess a passion or even liking for the game. 

Resultantly, the players that grace the Soccer pitch are mostly the inadequate ones. That’s because they are not the talented ones. They were just privileged enough to avail best opportunities as a child. The most passionate ones did not make it to the professional level, because of their economic class. 

It’s a Matter of Interest…

For example, in Brazil, kids have access to many open spaces, where they can practice Soccer, without any confinement related to money, etc. As one of the most popular sports in Brazil, kids also play Soccer as a leisure time activity, and even with their fathers. In the U.S., where the majority of people are not interested in the game, there are no chances that a kid would learn from his father. 

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2. Not so Bright Future in Soccer, for an Athlete 


American Soccer team does not excel on an international level because athletes prefer to opt for the most popular sports in America with professional leagues, such as American Football (National Football League – NFL), Baseball (Major League Baseball – MLB, and the Negro Leagues), and Basketball (the National Basketball Association – NBA). 

No matter how passionate you are, if you ought to make a living out of your passion, you need to weigh the pros and cons. Even if the talented players can afford the Soccer camp and can compete at an international level, they don’t do so. That’s because they’re lured away into the sports, with more attractive rewards. 

MLS vs Other Leagues

To get a clearer picture, take a look at the salary package of players of MLS (Major League Soccer) and other four major American sports, by 2020. 

Average Salaries of Different Leagues

  1. Average NBA salary: $8.32 million 
  2. Average MLB salary: $4.03 million 
  3. Average NFL salary: $3.26 million
  4. Average NHL salary: $2.69 million
  5. Average MLS salary: $410,000

Minimum Salaries of Different Leagues

  1. Minimum NBA salary: $898,310 
  2. Minimum NHL salary: $700,000 
  3. Minimum MLB salary: $563,500 
  4. Minimum NFL salary: $610,000 
  5. Minimum MLS salary: $56,250 

No athlete would choose a dismal financial future, and leave behind a much more popular sport that pays in millions. Because of these contrasting differences in the worth of different leagues, most young Soccer players set aside their passion and decide to go for a much more stable and secure option! 

3. Average Coaching 

Average Coaching

There is another reason, why Americans do not excel at Soccer, and it is average coaching. The U.S. Soccer team is mostly coached by average coaches. All of it is an interconnected cycle – how can players get an extraordinary coach if the sport itself does not excel in the country. 

  • Another reason is that most talent in the American Soccer team moves outside the U.S., pursuing a career in a country where they’d be able to improve their skill. Resultantly, most coaches of the U.S. Soccer team don’t even have a championship. It takes a legend, to know what it takes to be a legend. 
  • In addition to the average coaching, the U.S. also makes it difficult for foreign players to enter the U.S. Soccer team because of its average salary packages and no sense of direction for players. If they can’t develop strong players, the least they can do is recruit talent from other countries, which also becomes a mess, because of the weak infrastructure. 

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4. No Opportunities for Young Players


American youth clubs Soccer are not aided financially. That’s because MLS Players Union and the U.S. Soccer Federation do not let the club teams take advantage of FIFA’s laws regarding Solidarity Payments and Training Compensation. Professional clubs provide no financial support, for the training and development of players between 12 and 21. 

When youth clubs are not acknowledged or rewarded for building future Soccer stars, no one takes an incentive for developing a young player, which results in limiting the full potential of young Soccer players. 

American Soccer Team – Not so Lost After All! 

Although the US men’s soccer team is not a famous name among top international Soccer teams, there is still little hope. However, to make that hope a reality, the U.S. Soccer department has to invest and work on the improvement of its infrastructure, find out the root causes of ‘consistently mediocre’ performance, and then construct the solutions.

For starters, they can promote economic Soccer camps, and provide Soccer players the same benefits as athletes from other famous League sports, such as Basketball and Baseball. When a person sees a future in Soccer and feels that he’d be paid back well for sacrificing his life for a sport, only then he’ll fully invest in the game and also take the team to a high-ranking position!