Despite being a wealthy and populous country with a love of sport, America has always lagged behind countries in Europe and Latin America in churning out world class soccer stars.
Some critics say it's not about a lack of love for the game but rather how our players are being developed. Writer Michael Sokolove recently visited the rigorous Ajax Academy in the Netherlands for his latest piece in the New York Times Magazine.
Ajax recruits soccer players young and subjects them to strenuous scientific training and strict evaluation. The academy routinely sells its best players for millions of dollars in the European premier leagues.
Sokolove said a combination of the American sport ethic of the self-made athlete, the college athletic system and the pay-to-play system in place in this country hampers the development of finely tuned soccer players.