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What will it take for the U.S. to be a legitimate World Cup contender?

Americans love sports. We especially love pro football. We love it so much we built a $70 billion dollar industry around the game and called it “fantasy.” The rest of the world loves its football, too. Different kind. And this month, that game will be front and center for nearly 3 billion fans around the globe.

The World Cup kicks off at 4 p.m. EDT today in Brazil where the home team will take on Croatia. The excitement surrounding the tournament is already palpable. (If you haven’t seen it, watch comedian John Oliver’s elegant take on his intense love of the game and tortured feelings over alleged corruption by the sport’s governing body, FIFA.)

And so we thought today would be the perfect time for one of our Thursday Twitter Chats. The theme: World Cup frenzy and the U.S.’s participation in soccer’s international arena.

Specifically we will address elite world soccer programs’ secret to success and ask if Americans can one day reach the highest achievement in the sport, a World Cup championship. We’ll be joined Sheldon Shealer (@ESRSoccer), a journalist who has covered high school sports for ESPN and now Student Sports. Shealer originated the FAB 50 national rankings in 1999. And Mike Jacobs (@mjpurpleaces), University of Evansville men’s head soccer coach and a former assistant for Duke University’s program. Jacobs recruits nationally and internationally and serves as the Vice President of Events for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Join NewsHour on Twitter for a conversation about soccer and the World Cup at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday. Follow the discussion and chime in with your own thoughts and questions by using #NewsHourChats.

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