he U.S. team's dispiriting 2-1 loss to Ghana on Saturday has left American soccer fans in a state of despondency. The wave of optimism and passion for soccer engendered by Landon Donovan's last-gasp goal against Algeria last week crashed against a wall of Ghanaian defenders at the weekend, and many of the 20 million viewers who tuned in to Saturday's game are unlikely to watch soccer again until 2014. So where does this leave us?, asks Jon Weinbach at AOL's Fanhouse. This World Cup proved that there is an audience that will "pay attention to soccer played at the highest level." It's time for to build institutions to nurture America's soccer potential:
"The simple truth is that there are systemic shortcomings in the U.S. soccer business that must be addressed before we can sit at the big boys table of global soccer...
"[But America has only been serious about the sport] since 1990, when the US earned its first World Cup berth in 40 years. As recently as the mid-'80s, the U.S. men's national team was playing World Cup qualifiers at a dumpy junior college field in suburban Los Angeles. Now, 25 years later, more than a million people went to their computers to watch an American score a goal at a stadium eight time zones away from suburban L.A. Imagine what we'll be like in another 25 years...
"But it will take time. And it will take work, plenty of money and some good luck — and not necessarily in that order."
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