Why US Women’s Soccer Team dominates?

A fair question to my previous post is: How did the US Women’s National Team win the World Cup last year?

Do U.S. girls grow up playing street soccer? No.

Isn’t their training and development similar to the US Men? Yes.

So, how did they win their second World Cup in 20 years and continuously rank in the top few teams in the world, if your theory is correct?

When you see pictures of kids playing street soccer from other countries, how often do you see girls in those pictures? Rarely.

The US Men’s team compete against players who grow up playing street soccer, especially from the time they can walk up through about 10-12 years-old, where skill development starts at around 2 years-old.

US Women do not. They compete against players who grew up in development environments similar to U.S. Men and Women: organized team play where skill development starts around ages 8-12, if you’re lucky, with less development of skills in early years and outside of organized team events.

UPDATE: So why do US Women dominate when our training is similar to other countries?

Our pool of female players is larger, so we have more chances for having elite players. Why is our pool larger? Because our country is wealthy enough for lots of teenage girls to spend a good deal of time pursuing a sport and activity that has very little long-term return for them.

It starts with Title IX scholarships. Winning a college scholarship for playing a sport has become a conspicuous consumption item for wealthy families.

College soccer (male or female) doesn’t sell enough tickets to support itself, so the ROI for the college sport is low and is subsidized from other sources by Title IX.

And, if you sum up the cost of being a club athlete vs. the expected value of the college scholarship, that ROI is so low for the parents, so only wealthier families can afford to pursue it.

Take away Title IX and I’d predict that US Women would lose their dominance in soccer within a generation, and it may already be in trouble as more young ladies are choosing volleyball and softball over soccer and other countries are emulating the development system of US Women’s Soccer.


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