5 Reasons: Why has the USA not won the FIFA world cup?

Every four years when the FIFA World Cup is about to occur, this question makes headlines, “Why has the USA not won the FIFA world cup?”

There are 21 versions of the FIFA world cup, which started in 1930 and the last world cup was held in 2018. The USA participated in 10 world cups but never lifted any world cup trophy. 

The USMNT’s most exemplary performance came in the first edition in 1930, when they finished third. Between 1950 and 1990, as well as in 2018, the USMNT was unable to qualify.

 USA not won the FIFA world cup

The reasons for the lackluster performance of USMNT in soccer are:-

1. High Competition

Soccer is played on almost all continents and more than 190 countries compete to book their place among the last 32 teams who will finally play in the world cup.

The USMNT is not the best test team in the world and is not even in the top 10 of the FIFA world rankings. 

The national team of European countries is full of immigrant players because talent from all over the world is more attracted to European leagues, and they are picked to play for the national side from there. 

The American Major League Soccer (MLS) is not as competitive as its European rivals and does not attract many players foreign players.

2. Not as popular as other sports

Soccer is not a popular sport in the USA and it has to compete with other sports for players, and is at the fifth spot in terms of popularity after American Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Ice Hockey. 

There are no big names from the USA on the world soccer stage. Soccer is not considered as lucrative as compared to other sports. In the USA, every sport is money driven so the more money the more talent attracted to that sport, that is the reason why young people in the USA do not take much interest in soccer. 

The most talented young athletes in most nations (Europe and South America) hope to become soccer stars. The top athletes in the USA are more attracted to basketball, baseball, and American football and play in wealthy domestic leagues NBA, MLB, and NFL respectively.

3. Culturally not connected

Despite being a strong sporting nation with enormous resources, soccer is not culturally imbibed in the Americans. Soccer is considered an alien sport by the Americans. 

They do not feel connected to soccer as compared to other sports. In many countries, football is preached as a religion.

In Europe, there is a strong football culture that is dominated by various clubs with loyal fanbases from generations which draw huge audiences to the stadiums and provides various money-making opportunities whereas in South American countries street football culture is prevalent.

4.  Lack of creativity in the style of play

Soccer is a sport of skill where players constantly need to get involved in the game to outsmart their opponents. 

USMNT lacks innovation in the style of play, they mostly play the defensive game rather than anticipating their rivals. In the past World Cups, it was evident that the winning team always predicted the opposite team’s style of play.

There are various factors such as coordination between players, team selection, team formation on the ground, tactics, and presence of mind needed at every passing second of the game.

Defenders, Midfielders, wingers, center backs, and forwards, all play in sync.

These skills are lacking in USA’s men’s soccer team.

5. Administrative Mismanagement

After every defeat in the world cup, there is a cry over change needed at the league level for the promotion of men’s soccer, but this goes in vain after a few days. 

The only other respectable (albeit not particularly good) team in the CONCACAF region, where the USA competes, is Mexico. Because of this, the USA frequently makes it into the World Cup, but once there, it can be easily defeated by nations that most Americans would find difficult to locate on a map, like Ghana, which has eliminated the US team in three straight World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014).

By failing to defeat lowly Trinidad & Tobago, the US incidentally was unable to advance in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.


These are the 5 reasons why the USA never won the FIFA world cup. The problems in country soccer can be solved by addressing the issues mentioned above.

If USMNT wants to succeed they need to collaborate with other competitive association like South American CONMEBOL which will give great exposure to the national team in the longer run. 

The case of the US women’s soccer team (USWNT) is the opposite, they won the world cup four times and are current champions so we can say that the USA has won the FIFA World Cup.


Has the USA ever won the FIFA world cup?

The US men’s soccer team has not won the FIFA world cup but the US women’s team has won 4 times.

What is the farthest USA has gone in the soccer world cup?

In the FIFA world cup, 1930, the US team finished in the third position.

When is the last time USA men won the world cup?

USA men’s team has not won any world cup.

Also Read:

7 reasons why football is the most popular sport in the world

FIFA World Cup Winners List and Runner-Up List 2022

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