U.S. Soccer

U.S. SOCCER CONTINUES TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE IN 2016

As the governing body of soccer in all its forms in the United States, U.S. Soccer has played an integral part in charting the course for the sport in the USA for more than 100 years. In that time, the Federation’s mission statement has been clear and simple: to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.

With U.S. Soccer in the nascent phase of the second century of its existence, the sport’s exponential growth in the last few decades has been nothing short of remarkable.

As is typical in the year following a FIFA World Cup, the U.S. Men’s National Team began working towards building the team that will hope to qualify and ultimately compete at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Over the course of 2015, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann utilized 49 different players and handed 10 their first caps with the MNT, balancing the development of the next generation of U.S. players with a desire to get results. Ultimately, the MNT had high points – defeating No. 6 ranked Netherlands and defending World Cup champion Germany in back-to-back road matches in June, while disappointments came with a semifinal round exit at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and extra time defeat to Mexico in October’s CONCACAF Cup.

Having rounded out the year with a positive start to 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying in November, the U.S. MNT continues its quest towards Russia this year, while also tackling the historic 2016 Copa America Centenario, to be held in the United States, and outside of South America, for the first time. The occasion marks the 100th anniversary of the longest-running national team tournament in the world and will be sure to provide the MNT more challenging matches while also shining another bright spotlight on the game in the United States this summer.

At youth level, the U-23 Men’s National Team, led by head coach Andi Herzog will hope to join the world in Rio for the Olympic Games in August via a two-leg intercontinental playoff against Colombia at the end of March. Below them, the U.S. U-20 and U-17 MNTs begin new cycles in 2016, after both age levels participated at their respective FIFA World Cups the previous year. After leading the U.S. within earshot of an appearance in the 2015 U-20 FIFA World Cup semifinal, former U.S. international Tab Ramos returns to head up his third-straight cycle with the U.S. U-20 MNT as they build towards the 2017 U-20 FIFA World Cup in South Korea. Meanwhile, having previously served as U.S. U-17 head coach from 2004-07, John Hackworth returned to the same post at the end of 2015, heading up the U.S. U-17’s Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla., as they prepare to qualify for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India.

The National Training Center in Carson, Calif., in its 13th year of existence, has been a valuable facility for all levels, including the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which kicked off at the state-of-the-art complex with much fanfare in 2007 and has gone one to produce an ever growing number of players who reach the full international level as well as fill out squads throughout the professional and collegiate soccer ranks in the United States.

Professionally, Major League Soccer continues to grow in popularity and prestige. The league played with 20 teams for the first time in 2015 and has more clubs on the way with Atlanta United FC to begin play in 2017 and Los Angeles FC joining the following year. On the women’s side, the U.S. Soccer Federation has overseen the successful launch of the National Women’s Soccer League that heads into its fourth season.

U.S. Soccer is subsidizing the salaries of up to 24 U.S. WNT players while the Canadian Soccer Association and Federation of Mexican Football are doing the same for up to 16 players.

From a coaching standpoint in the United States, more classes are continually being offered around the
country, and the number of licensed, well-educated trainers and managers is larger than ever. U.S. Soccer has launched the Digital Coaching Center, providing more resources than ever for coaches at all levels. The education level among coaches has been tailored to match the expanding pool of talent in the U.S.

U.S. Soccer continues to set positive trends for referees in CONCACAF, with reinvigorated focus on education and training, including in the realm of professional referees.

In 2012, U.S. Soccer and MLS created the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) to manage the referee program in professional soccer leagues in the U.S. and Canada. The creation of PRO has been designed to increase the quality of officiating in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues, develop more professional quality officials at a younger age and develop officials who will represent the United States and Canada in FIFA competitions.

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