For the past week and half, Euro 2012 has made Alexi Lalas and soccer relevant to the average American sports fan for the first time since the 2010 World Cup. The publicity for soccer has led analysts and fans to start mumbling about the state of the U.S. National Team in the 2014 World Cup.

People may wonder why the United States has not found the tools for a top-notch soccer team. What is the problem? In such a populated, democratic, wealthy nation, where are the soccer stars?

The answer is simple: Every other sport. The top U.S. athletes do not play soccer. They play basketball, football, baseball or another popular American sport with a higher price tag attached to it. In Europe, the top athletes go into soccer. In the United States, they do not.

But ... what if?

What if soccer was the most popular sport in the U.S.? What if the U.S. had a domestic soccer league that paid the highest salaries in the world? What if the top U.S. athletes began training for a professional soccer career in their youth rather than for another sport?

Well, it would look something like this. In a theoretical world, the following would be the 23-man U.S. National Team if soccer was the premier sport of the United States.

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