Time claims there is a pretty good reason why Germany has made it to seven World Cup finals in 18 total appearances, failing to make the quarterfinals only once. Compare that to the USA, which has zero titles and zero World Cup final appearances, having only reached one World Cup semifinal (the first one, in 1930). How could a country with 300 million people, the world’s largest economy and a competitive national team in almost every other sport do so poorly at soccer?
In a word, money. In Germany, soccer eats up the overwhelming majority of German team sports revenue, while in the USA, soccer takes up barely a sliver. While the top three divisions in German soccer rake in $3.8 billion annually -- accounting for 91 percent of all German team sports revenue -- Major League Soccer teams had combined revenue of $494 million in 2013, according to Forbes. That’s about 1/7th of the NHL’s revenue, and 1/20th of the NFL’s total income. It’s actually a wonder we’re not worse at soccer, the Times article says.