Once again, the debate begins: How much better would the U.S. soccer team be if American kids were not spread among so many other sports?
Well, check out the roster below.
Here is what the 2014 U.S. World Cup team might look like if there were no NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball to siphon away the nation’s top talent.
Please note that I’m no Phil Jackson. On my fantasy football team, I once started Tony the Tiger at tight end (when he’s obviously a better tailback).
But I stand by this hypothetical roster — my guess as to what the U.S. team could look like on the way to winning the World Cup:
Reggie Bush — With his slashing, surgical moves, could be the second coming of George Best.
Andrew McCutchen — Baseball’s best athlete would spread the field and make an aggressive, turbocharged scorer.
Colin Kaepernick — Ferocious open-field speed, lethal off Chris Paul’s brilliant through passes.
Chris Paul — Sees the field like no one else, makes everyone around him better (even Cliff).
Landon Donovan — I don’t care what that German idiot says, Donovan’s still the best player on this highly athletic roster.
Calvin Johnson — Burner who will unbalance opposing defenses down the right side and create opportunities for this attacking midfield.
Richard Sherman — If you can smother NFL receivers, you can smother those bony Brazilians (assuming he can avoid red cards).
Yasiel Puig — I’m not sure if he’s Cuban, or American, or from the planet Zingon, I want him as my stopper. Plus, I want to see him bat-flip Ronaldo.
Adrian Peterson — Will unhinge fragile, foreign-made forwards, then run the field to score.
Mike Trout — With his speed and athletic brio, could probably handle defense all by himself, allowing U.S. to run soccer’s first 1-7-2 formation.
LeBron James — Featuring the wingspan of an F-16 ... and can fly almost as high.
Darren Sproles — Like former German scoring sensation Gerd Mueller, but with faster spin moves.
Jameis Winston — Not only a threat to score, but a reliable purveyor of fresh seafood.
Jimmy Graham — Is he a tight end or a wide receiver? Nope, he’s a center mid? Great backup to LeBron as well.
Giovani Bernard — Bengals’ explosive running back with a name that sounds like an Italian striker. Or a line of expensive loafers.
Serena Williams — America’s angriest athlete finally gets to hit something besides tennis balls.
Pete Carroll — Don’t care if his motivational shtick borrows from John Wooden, he’s the top coach in any sport.
Kobe Bryant — Not sure what a technical director actually does, but Kobe can do anything.
Dwyane Wade — Though Reggie Evans might be the better choice.
Mia Hamm — Because all the guys would show up for the team parties.
Dr. Phil — Will be dealing with lots of head cases.