SportsProf

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

FIFA's Probably Got It Right This Time

The U.S. national team is now ranked #29 in the world rankings.

You'll recall that going into the World Cup, they were ranked #5, only to not survive the first round of play. It didn't help that they were paired with the Czechs and the Italians (and the U.S. was ranked ahead of the World Cup champions going into the tournament).

You wonder what goes into the rankings, but retrospectively it's hard to see how the U.S. could have been ranked so high with very few of its players playing on good teams in the top leagues (some exceptions: Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride). Now the U.S. is probably where it belongs, and, hopefully, those who run U.S. soccer know that in addition to youth programs and hype, they need to get their best players playing in the best leagues in Europe and succeeding. Until that happens, the U.S. program probably will be like a low-Division I hoops program in NCAA Basketball, where getting into the tournament is an achievement and getting past the first round is the best you can do.

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