Landon Donovan debate - we are having the wrong conversation
Everyone has opinions about Landon Donovan: he’s the greatest US soccer player in history; he should have been included in the US World Cup team etc. The debate about Landon Donovan, however, serves to highlight an interesting fact about US soccer: the US has yet to produce a male world class player. Let’s be clear, by a world class player I mean someone that could be included in a discussion of the top 10 players in the world for any given year. Let’s stretch the boundaries here and I would argue that the US has not produced a male player that would get included in the top 50 players in the world in a given year. This shortcoming in turn is a reflection of the average quality of the top echelon of US players and what we can expect the USMNT to achieve. (The underlying assumption here is that there is a strong correlation between a country’s top quality players and the odds of that crop of players producing a world class player.) To be competitive at with the elite soccer countries of the world you need at least one if not two world class players. And that is the real issue that should concern US soccer – US soccer needs world class players to realize world class results.
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