The United States men's national team can win the World Cup one day, but only if a wider net is cast to attract a more diverse talent pool to the sport, says Hope Solo.
The USMNT's former head coach, Bruce Arena, recently dismissed suggestions the team could be crowned world champions any time soon as "stupid talk."
While the mood surrounding the USMNT has lifted from the doom and gloom following the infamous collapse against Trinidad & Tobago, Arena, who was in charge for the failed 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, believes the sense of optimism is premature.
And Hope Solo reluctantly agrees with Gregg Berhalter's predecessor.
"With the United States being one of the host nations for the 2026 World Cup, the hope is that the team can go far," according to the legendary former goalkeeper.
"By far I mean the knockout round, not winning [the competition].
"There is excitement surround the talent and the player pool right now, but not qualifying in 2018 spoke to a bigger systemic problem with soccer in America.
"When it comes to registered youth players, the numbers have substantially fallen.
"So when we talk about the growth of the game, what kind of growth are we referring to, spectatorship, rights deals or popularity? Or how many kids are playing the sport in the United States.
"That is where our system is broken. The pay-to-play system is pricing our youth out of the game, and the Federation has now announced there will be less scouts [than before].
"So now scouts will focus on the 'top clubs,' the clubs with academies, states with MLS clubs, the most expensive tournaments and the most expensive clubs to play for.
"The leaders of our sport need to focus on providing funds and resources to amateur soccer in America.
"When you stop alienating talented kids who come from states without an MLS team or low-income communities, then we can expect to see greater talent on our national teams, and the USMNT will finally be headed down a path to a World Cup victory.
Replicating the USWNT's winning mentality
Speaking ahead of the USMNT's upcoming friendlies against Jamaica and Northern Ireland, Berhalter said he wants his team to emulate the women's program's winning mentality.
Instilling that mindset won't happen overnight though, warns Hope Solo, who played an integral part in helping the USWNT assert its dominance on the international stage during her playing career.
"That culture existed long before I came onto the team in 1997.
"It was cut-throat, he had to win at all costs, and it's the culture that remains, so it's not something he can create overnight.
"It's incredible to see a player like Sergino Dest play for a club team where every game does matter, but we need more players to play in those types of atmospheres."