The thing with soccer in the US is that even though the intensity is higher from the ages of 15-24.. the system is built differently.
When your playing club soccer the ambition is to play well enough to get scouted by a college coach and play college ball. And then when you turn 18 and go to college you play soccer for your school for 4 years and for most players that’s where the career ends because there is nowhere else to really go after that other than recreationally.
There is a big gap between college ball and professional soccer in the US for men and for women’s and its hard for average players so to speak to get anywhere serious with soccer after college.
No real clubs or consistent leagues or anything. In Europe however there are club teams all over the place, actually there are only club team and several leagues in each country who pay their players to play for them and take care of their players from the ages of 18 to even over 30. And not all of these clubs are “professional” so to speak, but in a way they are.
So the average, ambitious, level-headed player can get somewhere in soccer and be happy while playing for a much longer period of time.
That’s where I’m headed. I cant say that I am one of the best because I know that I still have a lot of work to do and a long path ahead of me. But I know where I want to go.