The United States may not have the best team at the World Cup, but it definitely has the best educated, because American players actually go to college, the Wall Street Journal reports. In the rest of the world, promising stars get pro jobs so fast it would make LeBron James’ head spin—Wayne Rooney, for example, debuted for Everton at age 16. But 15 of the US’ 23 players went to school.
Many US soccer honchos aren’t exactly happy about that, either. “Our players are perhaps retarded because they’re not playing competitive matches year-round,” complains one MLS official; US Soccer president Sunil Gulati agrees. Yet somehow the scholarly Americans beat out Rooney’s vaunted English team for top honors in Group C. It’s “a small victory for college soccer,” says the coach at the University of Maryland. "When you're talking about almost 70% of the team spending some time in college, that's a heck of a statement."