Originally Posted by Hoosier Red
Another point against the "best athletes play other sports" is that the US is generally the most athletic team on the field. My guess is the US teams can run fastest, jump highest, run the longest, and out muscle most of the competition. In fact for much of its history, the US strategy has depended on wearing out the opponent and keeping the game from being a matchup of skill.
Maybe if even better athletes were involved, they could pull that strategy off against even the best soccer teams, but really the whole ball of wax is dependent on being able to be skillful with the thing at your feet.
What we lack aren't good athletes. We have so many great athletes we dominate in the Olympics, where most athletes aren't exactly competing in high revenue sports. What we lack is institutional knowledge. In Europe and South America, the best kids are scouted and recruited by academies run by professional teams with over 100 years of experience in the sport before they reach the age of 10. In the US, our 10 year olds are, by and large, still playing in leagues with parent coaches. We're getting better, but we've got a ways to go.