Economics Professor and Former MLS Referee Shares Analysis on Shocking U.S. World Cup Elimination

The Atlantic
October 18th, 2017 by 

Distinguished Economics professor Victor Matheson
Distinguished Economics professor Victor Matheson Photo by: Tom Rettig

After losing to tiny Trinidad and Tobago, the United States men’s national soccer team won’t make it to the finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1986. In the wake of elimination blues, many are asking the critical question: how, given the level of funding, could the U.S. drop the ball this early? In an article by the Atlantic, economics professor Victor Matheson draws the connection between GDP per capita and a country’s expected performance in international competition, a connection that used to simply be assumed until the U.S.’s elimination on Tuesday the 10th.

So how did Trinidad and Tobago, which couldn’t have spent even a tenth the United States did, come out on top? “The idea,” Matheson says, “is that we’ve developed a lot of highly trained but mediocre rich kids while missing out on training lots of potentially fantastic poor kids.”

Read the full piece on the Atlantic website.

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