From AO: The US National Teams are important to us and we are going to make a positive difference.

We aim to inform and engage our AO membership of USSF’s election process and give the candidates a platform to articulate to our members. We believe this is a two step process.

The first step is to focus on change in leadership and leading the conversation of candidates to replace Sunil Gulati since he will no longer seek re-election. We will do this by sharing our concerns and issues with potential candidates, USSF, and the public. Then, we will give all change candidates a platform to listen to AO members, and to provide their plans and ideas.

Second, we will work to shine a light on the USSF process, as well as give a platform for change, with this member engagement. We want to focus on this to elicit change before we take further action. We have extend invites to all candidates to address our membership via questionnaires, live video chats, and provide feedback via comments and straw polls.

You can see all of this in our AO Election Center

The result below is Eric Wynalda’s own words in response to questions from AO. These questions were culled from issues based on a survey we sent to our members in late 2017. 

1. What leadership experience and leadership style makes you qualified to be USSF President?

I have served as a coach at all levels. I have been a Director of Coaching of youth clubs, and a Technical Director at professional clubs. Even my own campaign is built upon my ability to recruit and build teams.

2. What changes will you make to youth development in this country? Can you provide a timeline of the changes that you envision?

The real issue with youth development is the federation has done a poor job of keeping the focus on the players. Instead the federation has allowed chaos to ensue as a result of the way they have handled the youth soccer. My first task in dealing with youth soccer is working with all youth organizations to create a unity of purpose, and that process will begin immediately upon assuming office.

3. In what ways will coaching in the United States change under your leadership?

Coaches, like players, need the opportunity to learn and challenge themselves. Our federation has placed more importance on earning money from courses than training more coaches. We need to find the right balance.

4. The current pricing structure for many U.S. Soccer games makes it difficult for the emerging fan, the diehard fan, and families to access National Team games regularly. What will you do to address affordability and access to games?

Playing National Team games in smaller stadiums while charging more hurts us in two ways. First, less fans get the opportunity to have access to that experience. Second, our players are not being prepared for the world stage by playing in more corporate environments with fewer fans. Playing in larger facilities and lowering the prices can provide more fans the opportunity to experience the National Teams and at the same time better prepare our players.

5. Describe what you will prioritize when choosing cities/venues to host matches for our national teams.

The priority will not be choosing a site based on the priorities of Soccer United Marketing. I believe in our players and our fans, and believe any city in America that has the appropriate infrastructure should be considered for matches. This idea of needing a national stadium or several of those is an unnecessary waste of resources. We don’t lack stadiums. We lack soccer people making soccer decisions when it comes to doing the business of soccer.

6. How do you envision the ideal gameday experience for fans attending a U.S. Soccer game?

Attending a US Soccer game should be a party. It should be exciting and fun. It should also be safe and managed in a first class manner.

7. How will your presidency incorporate the views of fans and include them in the governance of U.S. Soccer?

I believe in the fans, and your ability to have a voice. I have travelled across the country during this campaign, listening and interacting with so many of you. Creating a healthy culture includes making US Soccer more responsive to all it members and fans, and including you in our conversations and considerations.

8. Why should fans unite behind your candidacy for U.S. Soccer president?

It’s time that we elect a president who knows the game and understands how to improve soccer and the business of soccer. I believe American soccer can become a global power if we fix our problems and become FIFA compliant. And we can do all of this together from the grassroots all the way to the top.

NOTE: Eric Wynalda will be taking questions from AO members in a LIVE, moderated online forum on Tuesday, January 23rd at 8pm ET. All members were emailed a link and password on Monday to participate in viewing the forum, submitting questions to Mr. Wynalda, and listening to his answers. The general public will be able to view this forum in the days that follow. 

So far six of the eight candidates for USSF President has agreed to AO’s request for both a questionnaire and forum date. More will be added as other candidates RSVP. 

LIVE AO Member Forum Schedule, Questionnaires and Recordings (All Forums Start at 8 pm ET):