Countless American coaches - club and college - go abroad to attend clinics and conferences in Europe. But they come back to a non-soccer culture country where kids don't live with the ball at their feet. We have a sports culture but soccer is unique on the world stage so the US will always be fighting to catch the rest of the world on the boys' side unless/until we actually penetrate the communities where a soccer culture exists (we are NOT going to turn our sports culture to a soccer culture). On the girls' side, the sports culture has kept us in the front because no other country does girls sports as well as us (take Spain for instance - try finding a girls' soccer camp some time). The European academy system that exists on the boys' side (leading to the pro teams) is not the same on the girls' side so they tap into a relatively small population that CAN fit the soccer approach. It is no surprise to me that small playing populations (Japan, France, Germany) result in polished senior teams (or even youth teams). But if we tried to do that here, the players tapped for some national academy would necessarily not include some potentially great players - much less likely when dealing with a smaller player pool - and, rightly I think, US Soccer is not going to create a pool at age 14 and assume it will be the group at age 25. And that's where I don't care - as I said, I want us to be competitive and I want to watch better soccer but I don't want us to try to emulate a system that depends on a homogeneity and a population and a soccer culture that do no exist here. I think the cost is too high - ignoring the millions who play this game not to make the national team but because it IS a great game and the thousands who can turn skill into a college education for an incredibly small pool of national team players. So our coaches, scouts, clubs, etc. are handed an athletic pool - larger than anywhere else - and it is up to them to work with the cream OR figure out another way to get a desired result. They do need to adapt as the rest of the world does but still work w/in the pool that exists.