Matthew Futterman has an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal asking why no American has become an international football star :
“The United States has won more than 1,000 Olympic gold medals. It has produced 26 British Open champions, 14 No. 1 tennis players and two winners of the Tour de France. It’s the birthplace of swimmer Michael Phelps, volleyball legend Karch Kiraly and chess master Bobby Fischer. An American nicknamed “the dump truck” nearly became the grand champion of sumo.
But there’s one feat that this wealthy and populous nation hasn’t achieved yet and, if recent events are any indication, won’t achieve any time soon.
No American man has ever become a bona fide international soccer superstar.”
The piece blames the standard of coaching but I would suggest a few other reasons :
– they don’t call the sport by its proper name i.e. FOOTBALL;
– the terrible standard of play in the MLS (which I have seen for myself);
– more US players need to play in Europe, such as Tim Howard at Everton ;
– Americans like winners so it won’t happen until the US team comes close to winning the World Cup.
By coincidence today is the one-year anniversary of Landon Donovan’s dramatic goal in the last World Cup against Algeria which took the US into the second round. Business Insider, with typical American understatement, describes it as the “greatest sports moment of your lifetime.”
It was painful to be reminded that the next World Cup is three years away (big sigh).