The Around the Horn program on ESPN is often discredited as being nothing but a bunch of hot air. However, this afternoon, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe opened up an interesting discussion about the state of US soccer. The question was the one in the headline.
After a bunch of hot air about the atmosphere, and some misinformation about the amount of offense typically seen in a soccer match, Ryan brought up the fact that it's been 22 years since Paul Caligiuri scored the goal against Trinidad and Tobago to put the US in the 1990 World Cup, and the US has improved mightily in the eyes of the world since then.
The fact that it's a given that the US is the second best soccer country in CONCACAF, the fact that World Cup qualifying is expected, that a top 25 ranking is the only acceptable place for the USMNT, all speaks well for the progress of US soccer.
He then went on to say that the interest at the grassroots level in soccer (AYSO) and the attention given the successive World Cups would have led to the development of more talent. It's true that when Steve Cherundolo went down, there was no one to replace him that could match his level of play.
This depth issue was taken on by J.A. Adande, who argued that the financial incentive for young athletes to focus on soccer just isn't there. Further it was argued that high school football and basketball coaches aren't losing their top talent to soccer.
So what do you think? Should the US have developed more talent by now? Is there proper incentive for today's youth to focus on soccer, even if that means they focus on getting to Europe? What did you take away from the Gold Cup final?