I joined the USSF Presidential race because I could no longer watch the United States Soccer Federation sidestep its responsibility to the people it was created to serve. As a player, I experienced the USSF’s ‘profit before progress’ approach for more than twenty years, and during this campaign, I have spent countless hours talking to people at every level of the sport who all say the same thing: the Federation has failed them.
The campaign has also made me acutely aware that the USSF’s conflicts of interests and other governance transgressions are so alarming that we can’t wait for the results of the Presidential election to take action.
U.S. Soccer has become blinded to its fundamental obligation to develop soccer in America. As our National Governing Body, the USSF is in blatant violation of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.
Today, I have called upon the United States Olympic Committee to hold U.S. Soccer accountable with the submission of a formal complaint under Section 220527 of the Stevens Act.
Because of the power, prestige, status and money flowing from the Federation’s alliance with Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing, the USSF’s priority has become protecting and building the MLS, at the expense of our youth, the women’s game and our place in the global game.
The Federation seems to believe that success should be judged not by how well amateur, youth, women’s and non-MLS men’s professional soccer are doing, but how well MLS is performing and how much money the Federation’s partnership with SUM is generating.
The Federation has made the world’s game inaccessible to so many here in America. In our current system, we are letting kids fall through the cracks, excluding so many from our vast talent pool and making both playing and coaching wildly unaffordable. In today’s system, I would have been missed. I would not have had the opportunity to pursue my dreams.
What have we become? Our country was built on hope and opportunity. Yet, through our failed system, we are turning our backs on those who can help us achieve the success that we all want.
It has also become even more apparent that the Federation has not only been deaf to calls for reform, but is actively working against them. Why else would the Federation’s current President and the most powerful member of its Board of Directors have put their support behind Kathy Carter, who has been employed by MLS or SUM in various capacities since MLS’s founding in 1995?
This is just one of many questions USSF must answer to, along with others surrounding the brazen and unchecked conflicts of interest the commercial partnership with SUM has created.
My bid for the Presidency is built on a pledge to fight for the betterment of the game with the same commitment, tenacity and willingness to go against the grain that made me the best goalkeeper in the world. This action is a necessary step in keeping that pledge.
I encourage all of you to read the complete document submitted to the USOC. It contains important information about issues that many voters and members of the soccer community are likely not aware of, yet are issues that have a profound impact on all of us.
Let’s take back our sport.