Surpise! MLS/USA soccer closed-system apologists have once again scored a perfect 10 in the mental gymnastics narrative spin competition.
On one hand, these closed-system apologists have always held that USA does not have enough soccer culture, fans, players, or infrastructure to be successful. Lately, small soccer nations such as Iceland, Belgium, and Croatia have been popping up and proving that the “little guys” can make serious noise in global soccer despite population and resource limitations. Small nations are now eclipsing USA soccer success on the regular.
Amazingly, these closed-system apologists are now claiming that USA soccer’s abundance of resources is a handicap and not an advantage. To review USA soccer ingredients:
- 330 million total population
- 24 million soccer players (probably 50+ million soccer fans in general)
- #1 wealth and infrastructure on the planet
- $11 billion projected profit for 2026 World Cup hosting honors.
Closed-system apologists want you to forget all of that noise. Apparently, these small nations have an advantage over USA because it is easier for them to organize into a cohesive unit. You simply cannot make it up:
Since USA soccer closed-system apologists cannot hold the U.S. Soccer governing federation (USSF) or MLS (the ones who appear to be pulling the strings for USSF’s decisions) accountable, they predictably must resort to a new spin on one of the two erroneous USA soccer failure scapegoats: blaming soccer fans/culture or soccer players.
You see, oh unenlightened ones, USA’s soccer landscape is so massive and diverse that it is hard to organize all of you good folks into a system of development that will produce top level USA soccer players for clubs and the national team. Leave it to the MLS closed-system to tackle this massive this challenge! Woe is USA for being so blessed with an abundance of soccer resources!
Why is the USA soccer national team player pool no better than the pre-MLS era in the mid-1990s? Why is MLS capturing a 6% (and shrinking) slice of the total USA soccer market?
With Croatia’s wild success in the 2018 World Cup, the credit must go to the Croatian soccer federation’s implementation of an open market (promotion/relegation) which enables excellent practitioners and organizations (clubs, fans, coaches, players, administrators) to rise to the top levels of the Croatian soccer ecosystem. Small, open-system nations are putting on a brilliant exhibition in the maximization of limited resources and potential.
Is USA soccer too rich or too poor? The conditions never seem to be right for MLS and USA soccer closed-system apologists. USA soccer must make the choice to align its soccer with American values of equality and opportunity for all. An open USA soccer market will incentivize hard work and excellence from players, coaches, administrators, and fans. USA is a world-class soccer nation, but it has to open its domestic ecosystem to all in order to produce a world-class domestic club soccer competition and national team.
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