The foreign-born make up 9% (2). All four players who have whole or part Hispanic background are American-born. The immigrants are a Scotsman and a half-Jewish Brazilian.
This is pretty similar to the demographics of the squad in 2006. I think there were about 2.5 Hispanics and 6 blacks. So, Hispanics have been underrepresented on the last two World Cup teams versus their share of the population, which is pretty interesting.
Soccer is by no means a bad sport to play. It’s fun, good exercise, cheap, and, unlike basketball or football, it doesn’t help to be 7-feet tall or 300 pounds. In fact, soccer shares many virtues with hiking, but there are no hiking hooligans and nobody calls you a chauvinistic boor if you don’t watch Sweden v. Paraguay on TV in the World Hiking Cup.
The American professional classes have learned that soccer is a terrific game for small children. In comparison, tee-ball generates farce, while Little League baseball inflicts humiliation on rightfielders who drop fly balls, strike out, and get picked off. (Not that I’m bitter or anything.) Via random Brownian motion, a soccer team of tykes is almost guaranteed to stumble into a few goals. (That’s why college robot-building competitions typically feature soccer matches.) When my five-year-old would trot off the field after one of his AYSO games, which he spent discussing the Power Rangers with his opponents while occasionally swiping at the ball as it rolled past, he’d brightly inquire, “Did we win? How many goals did I score?”
To us Americans, a kids’ soccer game doesn’t look all that different from the endlessly ineffectual endeavors of the scoreless 1994 Brazil-Italy World Cup final in the Rose Bowl. Similarly, because we can’t recognize quality soccer, we’re as happy to root for our women as our men. We were ecstatic over America’s victory in the 1999 Women’s World Cup of soccer. We’d beaten the world! When cynics pointed out that the world, other than China and Norway, doesn’t much care about women’s soccer, well, that just made us even prouder of how liberated our women are, compared to those poor, oppressed women of Paris, Milan, and London, whose consciousnesses haven’t been raised enough to want to trade in their Manolo Blahniks for soccer spikes.