Canada is nuts about hockey. Americans as a whole are indifferent at best, yet we share a border. Mexicans are crazy for soccer.
If the US had the world's greatest soccer player, the majority of the country wouldn't care. Soccer is a sport that is played by about 30 million Americans a year, but it's a blip on the map at the collegiate and pro level here. People simply enjoy different sports, and the local culture reinforces it. Jim Brown was probably the greatest lacrosse player who ever lived, but his career was a footnote because the sport he played professionally was football, and he was an outlier at it.