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.
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