I often hear people say that the U.S. should do fine in soccer because we have so many kids that play it!
Yet, we still lost to Trinidad and Tobago, a country with a total population half that of Greater Cleveland.
This reminds of this scene from the movie 300:
The Spartans were true soldiers.
They were soldiers literally selected from birth and trained/hardened to be tough-as-nail warriors willing to lay down their lives in a fight and honored to lose to a superior opponent.
The Arcadians had numbers, but they were potters, sculptors and blacksmiths, not soldiers. They proved shortly after that numbers was not a reliable predictor of success in battle.
As Leonidas says at the end of the clip, “I brought more soldiers than you did.”
Numbers isn’t a reliable predictor of success in soccer, either.
The U.S. is a great country, but it doesn’t produce soccer players for the world stage. It produces them to earn college scholarships, which on the world stage is about as useful as potters in sword battle.