Quite simply, college soccer is a severe impediment to our best players becoming world class. They have to choose against college (a difficult decision in the US) in order to go after the training and focus that the best players in other countries get. Effectively taking ages 18-22 out of heavy soccer play is a killer.
All that said, I still maintain that it should never impact our ability to qualify out of our region. We have more people and more resources than the balance of the region combined. We should always qualify.