It’s Time to End the Rigged Soccer System

While politicos across the country are anticipating the midterm elections later this year, the American soccer community is gearing up for an election of their own. On February 10, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Board of Directors and Member Council Delegates will gather in Orlando for one of the most anticipated elections in American soccer history as they choose a new president.

For far too long, the USSF system has been rigged: rigged against underserved youth, rigged against female players, and rigged against lower-division leagues. Past leadership has concentrated power in the hands of a few and deepened their own pockets in the process, all at the expense of passionate players and fans like the ones our mission it is to serve. The soccer establishment has created a system that is more concerned with growth in their own boardrooms than on American pitches.

American soccer depends on homegrown talent, but while millions of dollars are made in complicated deals at the top, youth development is suffering. Without meaningful investment in grassroots and development programs, the pay-to-play structure that has a chokehold over youth soccer will continue to stifle talent in underserved communities. Too many young, talented players are being left on the sidelines...right when we need them the most.

With three World Cup championships, four Olympic gold medals and seven CONCACAF Gold Cup wins under their belts, the U.S. Women’s National Team players are a clear symbol of success. While they are idolized by women and girls across the nation, they’re treated like second-class citizens by their own federation. Female players consistently get paid a fraction of their male counterparts, are forced to play in less than ideal conditions, and are even given less of a vote in next month’s election. Past leadership has vowed to level the playing field, but little progress has been made.

If this is the status quo, we want out.

In an attempt to continue what they started, the establishment is actively working to engineer this election. They’re propping up candidates who have no incentive to change, candidates who will perpetuate the status quo because that’s what keeps the money rolling in.


With so much at stake, the Sports Fans Coalition couldn’t help but get involved. As a grassroots, sports fans advocacy organization, we fight for fans, their interests, their access, and their rights. So when we see fans fired up about an issue, we are proud to be a collective voice of their concerns.

That’s why we’re launching this campaign today—to raise awareness of how past USSF leadership has hurt the sport of soccer and how establishment candidates will only lead to more of the same. We’re advocating to ditch the status quo and elect a president who will work for players and fans of all levels and backgrounds. We want better for this game...and we know it’s possible.

In order to do this, we’re meeting people where they are. We’re sending emails, sharing our thoughts on social media, and running digital ads to reach a broader audience. There’s too much at stake in this election not to.

If you’re a soccer fanatic or new to the game, this election matters. The next USSF president will play a decisive role in building on the competitiveness of the U.S. soccer program on a global scale. But this election will also send a powerful message on the meaning of sport in America. It’s about giving players across all levels and backgrounds a fair shot at fulfilling their dreams. It’s about equity for women on and off the field, about transparency in elections, and about growing and supporting true talent, not deepening pockets.

On February 10, the USSF Board of Directors and Member Council Delegates will vote on the future of the beautiful game in America and U.S. soccer deserves more than another four years of an establishment candidate. It’s time to end soccer’s rigged system and bring fresh leadership to USSF.


Click below to share this article!

Showing 12 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Ken Hayes
    commented 2018-02-08 07:39:13 -0500
    USA Soccer will take off as soon as we can scheme getting the best athletes to get proper training in the sport.
    It currently costs thousands of dollars plus hotel,etc..
    With my limited ability I could take 4 12 yr old soccer players and pair them with 4 inner city running backs and basketball players and have a formidable opponent for even the most developed squad in no time with a sub to boot.
    It’s nauseating how much I have to pay for my children to get training that keeps them advancing, I have 5 kids all different levels of natural ability playing EDP & Region 1, I see some very good ball every single weekend it’s a shame and dam near criminal I have been able to finance it by robbing my own 401K what about those that don’t have that ability, Why is there no inner city athletic push for team USA fact is soccer is for the haves in this country that’s why we suck!
  • Dennis Mallon
    commented 2018-02-07 16:07:21 -0500
    Sounds like an equal pay movement and lacks clarity of direction. I will agree that the Women’s soccer team has been very successful and I am very proud of their accomplishments and they should be given equal chance to improve our U.S. program as a whole.

    I will also stipulate that the politics run deep at the top and always have. In particular with the Men’s national program. NCAA influence and crony involvement on selection is burdening to fielding the best players.

    The U.S. would be better served by encouraging better private club and academy development programs that bring different styles to bear vs. College accepted standards which show clearly in our performance on the Men’s side.
  • Wendy Stafford
    commented 2018-02-04 23:18:18 -0500
    So… who do we get to vote for? I’ve seen this post a lot. Who are the candidates?
  • John Fitzhugh
    commented 2018-01-26 09:29:26 -0500
    Nice intro, but who are you pushing, and who do you see as the ‘establishment’ candidates? All I’ve read so far about this election makes it seem like a battle of money, and whoever has the most money (equals influence) wins. That has created a mess in Congress and in US soccer. You’ve got two weeks to change that. Good luck-sincerely.
  • Tom Connors
    followed this page 2018-01-25 18:15:32 -0500
  • Paul McHenry
    commented 2018-01-25 16:51:17 -0500
    How about laying out details of what you mean? I’m all for improving our program, but you haven’t laid out an argument of the corruption and what “change” you are looming for.
  • Shad Green
    commented 2018-01-22 10:03:59 -0500
    I am a fan and I love the passion of this article. I’m not here to debate just need some clarification. I too want to support change but I need more information.
    The article asserts, “ rigged against underserved youth, rigged against female players, and rigged against lower-division leagues.”
    Rigged implies that there is a systemic and intentional plan to exclude. Can you provide some specific examples of how USSF has intentionally excluded youth from participating and playing soccer.
    The article also asserts that,”past USSF leadership has hurt the sport of soccer and how establishment candidates will only lead to more of the same. We’re advocating to ditch the status quo and elect a president who will work for players and fans of all levels and backgrounds.”
    1. What exactly has the past USSF leadership done to hurt soccer and in the US? Examples please.
    2. Are there current candidates that have identified specific issues and what is their plan to correct them?
    I want to be an informed advocate and avid supporter so thank you for taking the initiative and working for the growth of this beautiful game and for the sport we all love.
  • Larry McMahan
    commented 2018-01-19 23:15:22 -0500
    End pay to play, equal pay for women, and implement promotion and relegation in first and second division.
  • Luis G. Castejon
    commented 2018-01-19 19:59:31 -0500
    Is time for a change, I grew up in a club in a small town in Argentina and never pay a penny to play and now with my kids you have to pay good money to play in a club and they do nothing for good player and less than nothing for a kid dreams.
  • Tom Boyer
    commented 2018-01-17 15:14:59 -0500
    Underserved youth are hindered by the pay to play system. Less money doesn’t equal less skills. Need more clubs like Ambassadors Football that give these kids a chance to play
  • Hans Johansson
    commented 2018-01-16 20:32:44 -0500
    Pay to Play Must end!
  • Rene Fabre
    followed this page 2018-01-14 09:47:42 -0500