|Welcome to Climbing the Ladder. It's not only a reference to a certain former ESPN announcer, but it also describes the current state of American soccer. In the last 15 years, we've climbed quite a ways, starting in 1989 when we qualified for our first World Cup in 40 years, to hosting the Cup in 1994, the start of MLS in 1996, and reaching the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002. But we still have far to go. MLS is not among the world's top leagues, and lacks the fan support to be a big success. The national team is among the top 20 in the world, but is nowhere near winning the big one. US soccer must continue to progress, and reaching the elite level will be harder than going from nothing to today's level. This blog will chronicle the journey.