Letter to U.S. Soccer Membership
I truly hope you, your families and your organization are doing as well as possible during these unprecedented times. The effect COVID-19 has had on our lives is unlike anything any of us have ever experienced.
While this is just the second time I have had the opportunity to communicate with you directly, I wish it was with better news. Like most businesses across the country, U.S. Soccer has not been immune to the unanticipated and harsh economic impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Upon officially joining the organization just over two weeks ago, it became quickly apparent that the status quo was not sustainable for the economic viability of the Federation. After extensive discussion, we concluded that we needed to act quickly and decisively in order to not put the Federation in financial peril in the coming years.
Every decision we make is guided by the best interests of all our members, and the millions of players, coaches and referees across the country. We also want to ensure that we do not compromise our efforts to broadly support our members and our National Teams. That is why we recently announced a number of incredibly difficult decisions, including discontinuing the Development Academy program for both the girls and boys, reducing our Youth National Team programming and, taking the painful step of reducing staff that has worked so incredibly hard for U.S. Soccer.
I made these tough, but necessary recommendations to our Board earlier in the week and both they and U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone gave me their support. Please know that these decisions were not taken lightly.
Development Academy Program
We know that discontinuing our support of the Development Academy will have a significant impact across the elite youth soccer ecosystem. While the timing is difficult, unprecedented times required us to act now, and we are committed to doing as much as we can to assist during these extremely challenging times. It won’t be easy at first, but I’m confident we will find a way through it together.
At U.S. Soccer, we will also be looking at other ways to positively impact youth development moving forward, including an increased emphasis on coaching education, a more comprehensive scouting effort, and working with clubs to maintain and expand the philosophy and standards established through the Development Academies.
Youth National Team Programming
Since the pandemic hit, we have been scaling back our Youth National Team programming and will continue to do so for the balance of 2020, with the possible exception of those teams involved in actual competitions. Along with Concacaf and FIFA, we will continue to monitor the possible staging of those competitions relative to the changing global COVID-19 landscape.
Staff Layoffs, Furloughs and Pay Cuts
The layoffs and furloughs were another challenging part of these decisions. Like all of you, these are people that have been incredibly dedicated and have contributed endless hours to help soccer grow in this country. This process also includes a few organizational changes I have made upon coming into my role. Additionally, I have decided to take a 50 percent pay cut during this period of economic uncertainty.
Finally, I know this has had a profound personal impact on all of us, and I want to express our gratitude to every single one of you for everything that you do each and every day for the good of the game.
At the same time, I ask you to join with us in looking towards the future with confidence and optimism. We are stronger together, and if we can stand side-by-side through these tough times there is much we can do to positively impact the sport and take it to new and unimagined heights.
U.S. Soccer Secretary General and CEO