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U.S. Soccer Announces Plans for International Relations Program

Outreach Program Created to Help Foster Growth of Soccer Worldwide

HAMBURG, Germany (June 7, 2006) — On the eve of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer has announced plans to launch a unique International Relations Program to help strengthen the organization’s ties within the worldwide soccer community. The announcement came in the presence of FIFA President Sepp Blatter and CONCACAF President Jack Warner at the XVI CONCACAF Extraordinary Congress on June 5 in Munich, Germany.

As the global impact of the sport of soccer continues to grow across all regions of the world, U.S. Soccer is creating a plan to participate in this growth while reaching out to other FIFA members in a meaningful way to further develop the sport. The USA’s outreach will focus heavily on the other 39 nations comprising the CONCACAF region.

“We know how important it is for the world soccer community to work together to grow our sport,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “With that in mind we are initiating an international relations program at U.S. Soccer that we hope will broaden our social responsibility to the game and its future.”

As a starting point to the International Relations Program, U.S. Soccer will host a Referee Seminar in the United States that will involve CONCACAF nations from throughout the region. Details of the seminar will be announced after the World Cup.

To achieve the goals of the International Relations Program and develop the sport in a meaningful way, U.S. Soccer will focus on three major areas. The first of those areas includes providing educational opportunities for developing nations using the Federation's expertise in cornerstone areas such as: Administration, Coaching, Communications and Refereeing. The second area focuses on an "on the job" training program which will allow key soccer officials from other nations to gain experience in a number of different roles and capacities within U.S. Soccer. A third part of the outreach focuses on creating partnerships with other entities that can increase or expand the reach or quality of the program.

“Ultimately, we are hopeful that this program will enhance our relationships on an international level,” added Gulati. “We are fortunately in a position of growth ourselves at U.S. Soccer, and feel that by appropriating the proper resources toward the international community we can not only help others, but we can accelerate our own programs, as well.”

More details of U.S. Soccer’s International Relations Program will be announced following the 2006 FIFA World Cup that kicks off in Germany on Friday.