The folks that claim to be in the know when it comes to soccer will dissagree, but that's just because they have bought into the current system. And by bought in, I mean they have paid outrageous amounts of money so that their kids can play for the elite soccer clubs.
Club soccer is the reason why the best we can produce is Landon Donovan. By soccer standards, he's great, but not by USA professional athletic standards. With club soccer, we are basically telling out best young athletes as they get into high school "look, you either play soccer year round and forget the more popular football, baseball and basketball, or you forget soccer and go play the sports that your school friends are playing." Is that not a stupid ultimatum? It's one thing that we have to decide based on seasons: Football vs. Swimming; Basketball vs. Wrestling and soccer; Baseball vs. Tennis and Track; but anytime you tell a kid that they have to devote themselves to one sport when their best prospects in this country of having a successful sporting carreer lie in other sports, the obvious outcome is that the best athletes will vear away from soccer.
Here is my suggested experiment. We need an experimental team. You take the best college basketball players and best skilled position football players that failed to get picked up by a professional team, and WHO PLAYED SOCCER AS A KID (so they have the basics) and you train them for an entire MLS off-season in soccer. My money is that by the second season, you have a playoff team and by the third you have the MLS champion and a group of five athletes that would find their way into the next world cup. I wish somebody had the money and desire to prove me right or wrong.