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Why Americans suck at soccer (well, the men)

We’ve got a theory, and it involves the soccer wars.

There’s a reason.
Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

This year, the United States of America isn’t part of the World Cup. Why?

This Ringer article about US men’s national team failure is one of many excellent dissections of the causes of the American soccer malaise, but it’s just the symptom of a root problem: Over the past century, the American men’s team has failed to become part of the soccer elite (while American women have dominated the game). It turns out that this soccer problem has a historical source.

The video above traces the history of the sport, including the moment when American soccer and American football first diverged. But at the center is the 1920s’ soccer wars — a convoluted business battle that destroyed the American league structure for the sport, which had been surprisingly popular in the US.

Watch the video above to see the tortured saga of American men’s soccer, and learn when the sport went from packed stadiums to failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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