Will U.S. Soccer Ever Produce a Pele?

Klinsmann may not be a savior, Emma, if only because the Peles and Maradonas of America are spending their days trying to be LeBron James or Adrian Peterson. But he has the one thing U.S. soccer has always lacked: star power.

Don't get me wrong—I'm sure Bob Bradley was a celebrity at his hometown diner. But his playing career ended at Princeton, the equivalent of an MLB manager who was a platoon player at Vanderbilt before being drafted in the 37th round and pursuing a career in sports management. Meanwhile, Klinsmann is one of the most decorated footballers in history. His 11 goals in World Cup play is tied for sixth all-time, just one behind Pele, and he was the first player ever to have at least three goals in three different World Cups. He was the captain of the German team at the '98 Cup, for God's sake! Has there ever been a U.S. player with even a tenth of Klinsmann's international success?

I say no, unless you count Alexi Lalas's hair . And on a team with several very good players but no superstars, Klinsmann immediately becomes the face of U.S. soccer. We young people love famous faces, and if Klinsmann's goal is truly to "play more pickup" and develop talent from the bottom up, he should have a far easier time getting people on board than a guy who got his professional start at Proctor & Gamble.

Hampton? Are you as riveted by this as we all seem to be?

–Jake

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Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

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