The American Outlaws sent representation to the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors meeting on December 6-7 in Chicago. There, they also met with top U.S. Soccer officials in the first of many ongoing meetings focusing on major issues facing the Federation and concerns from members and chapter leaders. Here are some notes from the meeting with U.S. Soccer as well as the public board meeting.
AO/U.S. Soccer Meeting
Member Survey results
- We discussed all the member survey and chapter call results, highlighting recurring questions and concerns
- U.S. Soccer acknowledges concerns from members and have scheduled meetings & Interviews for 12/19 with Gregg Berhalter, Earnie Stewart, and Brian Remedi (Chief Administrative Officer of USSF. WNT General Manager for Kate Markgraf is unavailable but will be available at a later date.
- AO reiterated that there is a strong urging from fans for change and progress, not just information
- Additional topics of concern from members and chapter leaders were covered and discussed
- Latino and inner city outreach was a major topic, one that both AO and USSF have not been great at addressing
- The prioritization of games and tournaments with national teams
- Creating measurable goals for U.S. Soccer that fans can see and hold them accountable
- The process by which players are called up to national teams and how selections are made
- When/where matches will be held so fans can plan schedules and travel
- Equal pay and fair treatment of the WNT
- A month ago, we presented a proposal to set ticket prices for friendlies and official competitions run by U.S. Soccer (excluding Gold Cup, World Cup, Women’s World Cup qualifying, Olympic qualifying, and Nations League).
- AO will write up official proposal to send to U.S. Soccer
- We expressed a desire to learn the following:
- Earnie Stewart’s ultimate MNT objectives
- Steps being taken to achieve those objectives
- We discussed the concerns and importance of having a public plan that fans can view so they can hold program accountable
- U.S. Soccer agreed and invited AO to meet with Gregg Berhalter and Earnie Stewart to create a forum/video to answer the questions presented on survey questions. Forum would be specifically addressed to AO, but made public for all fans.
- Concern from AO members about US Soccer’s on-going litigation against the WNT
- Desire for the two parties to come to a settlement that recognizes (and compensates) the WNT fairly
- Interest from members about the vision and direction of the WNT from new General Manager Kate Markgraf and new head coach Vlatko Andonovski
- How can the WNT and their YNTs remain on top in a increasingly competitive women’s game
- What is US Soccer’s plan for continued support of the National Women’s Soccer League and its WNT players?
AO/U.S. Soccer meetings
- Beginning recurring meeting cycle with Carlos Cordeiro. Date: TBD
- Will produce recording of 12/19 meetings with Gregg, Earnie, and Brian
- Videos Here:
- Annual meeting with US Soccer on Jan. 10th, 2020
Connection with players and national teams
- We addressed the perception of the lack of connection with the MNT and players
- Suggested ideas to create a better link with players so fans can feel more a part of the team
- AO will follow up with U.S. Soccer with specific plans and tasks for MNT/WNT
- AO will share our objectives with U.S. Soccer in January
- AO will provide U.S. Soccer with specific plans and tasks to increase connection between members and national teams/players
- AO will continue to share information on topics of member concerns to inform where progress is being made
Next AO/U.S. Soccer meeting: January 10, Chicago
U.S. Soccer Board of Directors Meeting
Notes below are a mixture of information from slides and takeaways from the information both presented and spoken
Vacant CEO position
- U.S. Soccer has interviewed a shortlist of CEO candidates to replace Dan Flynn.
- One candidate is from abroad, and the rest are domestic.
- Both men and women have been interviewed.
Addressing staff and work culture issues
- In a stated effort to increase transparency, U.S. Soccer invited all full time staff to observe board meeting.
- U.S. Soccer acknowledged and presented efforts on improving the workforce environment. New staff member brought in to focus on workforce program
- They conducted a staff survey that covered communication, managing talent, and the physical work space. Accordingly, they are looking for better work space than Soccer House and are considering all options, including new Chicago location and possibly a future move to a new city.
- Carlos and board presented a proposal to address improved U.S. Soccer higher level accountability and compensation with a Talent Committee
- Committee would consist of President, VP, staff liaison, athlete member, and independent member
- Committee will help with C-level and CEO assessments, compensation structure, and performance evaluations. Committee would also:
- Monitor CEO compensation and performance
- Review and recommend C-level compensation
- Approve/provide oversight of successions
- Provide oversight of strategic compensation
- Set compensation budgets/structure
Innovate to grow grants
- U.S. Soccer presented a proposal to increase grant program
- Goal is to provide $3 million to coaches, refs, and players
MNT technical update
- Search for a new GM is ongoing – no update on candidates
- U.S. Soccer’s view is towards the 2022 and 2026 World Cups, and this new playing style will be at the center. The idea is that it will become 2nd nature to all who participate in the MNT program as part of a newly established team identity.
- e.g. Sporting Director Earnie Stewart believed the loss at Canada contained many positives with the playing style, while in the win against Canada wasn’t pretty due to not playing in the style they want to see going forward
- Earnie stated that Implementation of the new playing style will take some time, but the data is indicating to them that it is progressing. The only part where the stats are still lacking is when compared to Mexico and beating Mexico in those areas is a stated goal.
- OBJECTIVES 2022 AND BEYOND
- Continuing forming our identity and style of play
- evaluating and identifying the MNT player pool
- Developing the player pool for 2022 and 2026
- Analyze and understand our competition both within CONCACAF and the rest of the world
- Qualify for the (Semi-) Finals of Nations League
- Qualification for the World Cup in 2022
- We looked at our overall performance in year one of this implementation versus our performance in previous years as well as comparing our performance to Mexico
- Passing, Chance Creation/Shots/Goals, Defending, and Win %
WNT technical update
- Coach Andonovski conducted a December ID camp in an effort to expand the player pool.
- 17/24 players in the ID camp do not have a cap with the WNT.
- Ultimate goal in 2020 is to win the Olympics, but to do so, they need to evolve and adapt to a different style of play from World Cup to Olympics to succeed.
Extended National Teams
- U.S. Soccer has added a women’s beach national team, deaf national team, futsal
- Dedicating equal time to non-major national teams, hiring Seth Jahn for outreach
- Goal is to provide a pathway to a soccer career for kids with disabilities
U.S. Soccer Commercial Plan
- The mission is to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States
- Key mission foundations: grow the game, winning on the field, growing the fanbase
- Team slogans
- MNT: Belief
- WNT: The Best in the World Inspires the Best in Us
- Both: One Nation. One Team.
U.S. Soccer budget
- Fiscal year: April 1-March 31
- Have begun a 5-year budget/plan (FY 2019-2023)
- FY2020 will have a $15 million operating deficit, $584,000 non-operating surplus
- Planning budget expected to project operating deficit for each year, which will drop current $150 million reserve to $50 million by 2023
- Expected yearly operating deficits:
- 2019 – $14 million
- 2020 – $15 million
- 2021 – $33 million
- 2022 – $32 million
- 2023 – $34 million
- WNT had $22 million in expenses; MNT with $15 million in expenses
- There was a digital revamp listed which will occur in 2020. Cost: $4 million
- U.S. Soccer is proposing increased investments in teams, player development, grassroots campaigns, and other areas that advances their mission
U.S. Soccer Vice Presidential election
- Will take place in February 2020 at Annual General Meeting (AGM)
- Candidates: Cindy Parlow-Cone (current VP), John Motta
- U.S. Soccer has proposal to create a Hispanic Council that will be non-voting
- Will be considered at AGM
Next Board of Directors meeting: Annual General Meeting – February 13-16, Nashville