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The "our best athletes don't play soccer" argument may seem tired - and it is often misused in an "Imagine LeBron as a striker lulz" way. But it is the truth. The best athletes in the US spend their lives learning to excel at football, basketball, and baseball. Our worst athletes do too, as I can report. I played all three of the previously listed sports despite the fact that in hindsight my physical attributes would have been more appropriate for soccer. But the potential never entered my mind.

That's why we're comparable to smaller countries when it comes to our level of talent. We're drawing from a similar pool of soccer-interested numbers. That's why we need the EPL, La Liga, etc to be televised over here more. No one is dreaming about one day making it in the damn MLS, we need the big leagues to show people something to aim for that's genuinely inspiring. Like the NBA or NFL is. That combined with more and more exposure to the World Cup and indeed MLS increases the cultural acceptance of soccer and some of the above problems will change.

/personally I like to imagine Randy Moss as a striker

The MLS improving would go a long way to makes kids dream of playing in it. Kind of like many kids in Europe first dream about making it to a top European league before the NBA, the very best ones cross the Atlantic whilst the best of the rest manage to have successful careers at a decent level and making more than decent salaries. The MLS needs more money, average salaries being that low is one of the main reasons why American kids dream of becoming Steve Nash or Peyton Manning instead of dreaming of becoming Messi.

A good performance by the national team would also go a long way in that regards.

And, can I try Shaq as a target striker and Polamalu as a GK on your team? :D

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Shaq is too slow. Dwight Howard would be better.

Now? Without a doubt. At his prime, Shaq could get there on fast breaks, his speed was always under-estimated because of his strength. Shaq had an incredible vertical too, he could probably get his head as high as keepers' hands on corner kicks :D

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Just another heartwarming 'look how far we've come' anecdote: during my cross-country flight yesterday, the captain gave live updates on the Ghana-Uruguay game. Totally spoiled it for me, but it was still cool.

What was his stance on the Suarez incident? Cliché would make it 'great block on the goal line' :D

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I'd like to see Bradley (or any American manager, really, but he's probably the best candidate right now) take over a European side. Fulham seems a bit ambitious to start, I guess, but it's a club that has a recent history of American connections (and obviously there's no language barrier), so it probably makes as much sense as taking over a second division Spanish club would (obviously not equating Fulham with a second division Spanish club, just saying the challenge of it for an American manager is probably close). He'd still be better off with a Championship club or maybe a Scottish club to establish a reputation, though. I wouldn't think too many English would be willing to give any respect to any American manager until he proves himself.

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Would love to see Bradley take over a foreign side for two reasons:

(1) It means he vacates his USMNT position.

(2) He could help create/expand the pipeline of American players heading abroad.

Strange that Fulham is considering him, but he does have some Roy Hodgson-esque qualities. He's currently nowhere near the same class of manager, but they might think he's from a similar mold.

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would love to see bradley go abroad so he could utterly fail, display the gulf between american coaching talent and the rest of the world, and finally knock some sense into the ussf that we will not improve until we stop this "promote from within" xenophobic asscrappery

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World Cup still delivering for ESPN/ABC despite USA's loss.

And here's why TV (and advertisers) will be particularly interested:

In addition to the sheer number of eyeballs that have been riveted to the screen throughout the last three weeks, the broadcasts have delivered an increasingly young, upscale audience. Thus far, the median income of the World Cup viewer is $78,000 and the median age is 37. This is decidedly more desirable than the numbers for the average TV viewer (median age 45, median income $48,000).

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NEW YORK (AP) — World Cup television viewership rose 41 percent over four years ago for English-language telecasts in the United States, with Spain's 1-0 overtime victory over the Netherlands setting a record.

Sunday's game in Johannesburg, which gave the Spanish their first World Cup title, was seen by 15,545,000 viewers on ABC, according to fast national ratings. The previous high was 14,863,000 viewers for the United States' 2-1 overtime loss to Ghana in the second round on June 26.

An additional 8.8 million viewers watched Spanish-language coverage Sunday on Univision, according to Nielsen Media Research, bringing the total to 24.3 million.

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LOS ANGELES — Sunday's World Cup final, in which Spain defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in overtime, captured the largest number of U.S. viewers ever for a men's championship match, ESPN said late Monday.

The match scored an 8.1 rating, or percentage of total households, and handily beat the 2006 final's rating of 7.7 for game coverage. But a higher number of overall households puts this year's contest down the list in ratings among all World Cup matches, and it didn't capture as many households as a U.S. game earlier in this year's tournament.

Still, ESPN declared victory.

"The 2010 FIFA World Cup was an overwhelming success for ESPN," John Skipper, ESPN's vice president for content, said in a written statement. "We experienced record viewership across multiple platforms, including television, broadband, online and ESPN Audio, and it was evident from the overwhelmingly positive reaction just how much fans were drawn to the spectacle of this global sports event."

Sunday's game was viewed by 9.4 million households and an estimated 15.5 million viewers, according to "fast national" numbers from Nielsen, ESPN said. That was the most households ever for a Cup final, but the game placed fourth in ratings among all World Cup game broadcasts, behind two 1994 games and this year's Round of 16 match between the U.S. and Ghana.

The 1994 Italy-Brazil final, played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., captured a larger percentage of households for its day, garnering a 9.5 rating, and that year's contest between the U.S. and Brazil got a 9.3 rating.

This year's U.S.-Ghana game got an 8.5 rating, capturing a higher number of households than the final, but that match had lower viewership, ESPN said. The U.S.-Ghana game attracted 9.5 million households and 14.9 million viewers.

The highest-rated soccer match ever was the U.S.'s victory over China in the women's World Cup final in 1999, also held at the Rose Bowl. It scored an 11.4 rating with 11.3 million households and 18 million viewers.

Among the top markets, San Francisco led with 14.7 percent of all households tuned in Sunday afternoon, followed by San Diego with 13.6 percent. New York was third, with 13.1 percent, trailed by Miami with 12 percent and Washington with 11.9 percent.

The tournament scored higher ratings overall when compared with the last World Cup. The three Walt Disney Co. (DIS) networks broadcasting the games_ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 — averaged a 2.1 rating for all 64 World Cup matches.

Those ratings are up from 1.6 in 2006, an increase of 31 percent. ESPN also said 105 million people tuned in to the tournament's first 62 matches, through the semifinals, up 17 percent from 90 million at the same point in 2006.

ESPN figures released earlier Monday showed that viewership among males aged 18 to 34 was up 27 percent, while the 18-to-49 group jumped 46 percent and the 25-to-54 group rose 50 percent for the first 62 games.

ESPN also said that World Cup content online captured 4.4 billion minutes of usage through the semifinals. The sports franchise said 110,000 people per minute were using ESPN content to monitor World Cup action throughout the tournament.

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