The Soccer Power Index, published by espn.com, ranks the USA No. 14 in the world in the most recent index.
Silver, an acknowledged soccer fan, admits there is a challenge compiling soccer ratings. "If a particular international team is not engaged in a major competition, such as the World Cup, it may play only a handful of meaningful matches each year," he says. "Compare that to a 162-game season in baseball, an 82-game season in basketball, or a 16-game season in American football. Many of these games, moreover, may be against teams of inferior quality, or may feature marginal lineups as many of a team's star players are engaged in club competition instead."
Silver, who first made a name for himself with his statistical analysis of baseball, says his ratings distinguish themselves from the FIFA rankings in that they take into account such things as margin of victory and home-field advantage. They also calculate the strength of the players in the team.
"If you had to bet your life on a soccer match, you would use SPI and not FIFA," Silver told the Wall Street Journal's Daily Fix.
11. Ivory Coast
14. United States