I have watched about 15 minutes of MLS soccer in my entire life. I have watched about 15 million minutes of European soccer.
As Americans, we enjoy watching the best athletes in any given sport compete on the biggest stages possible. We love seeing Albert Pujols hit the 450-foot homer, Peyton Manning floating in the perfect pass. In soccer lingo, that would be equivalent to watching Cristiano Ronaldo whipping in the perfect free kick or Lionel Messi using his magic feet to fly by five defenders before scoring.
Believe it or not, when it comes to soccer, the best players do not reside in the United States. And Americans do not grace the list of the best players in the world either.
A debate has risen regarding Major League Soccer and its position as one of the more inferior leagues in the developed world. While the United States has done an excellent job of developing players (by their standards), its professional league has not grown at the same rate.
Over the past decade, many of the best Americans have gone to Europe in an attempt to establish themselves as household names. While Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey have done very well in their stints in the English Premier League, an American has yet to reach that list of elite, world class players. It's bound to happen eventually, as the amount of progress made over the past 20 years in American soccer infrastructure has been outstanding.
The question now remains, should these players stay in the United States to help grow the league and influence the national system as a whole? Or, should they choose to test the waters of the elite soccer leagues, finding out how good they really are?
Here are seven reasons why US soccer players should ply their trades in a foreign land if given the opportunity.