U.S. Soccer

- U-16 Boys’ National Team Match Report -

Match: U-16 BNT vs Brazil U-16 BNT
Date: Monday, April 17, 2017
Competition: 45th International Tournament of Montaigu
Venue: FEC, La Chaize-le-Vicomte, France
Kickoff: 10 a.m. CEST
Weather: 65; sunny

Scoring Summary: 1          2          F                     
USA                            0          0          0                                
BRA                            0          2          2

BRA – Rodrygo Sylva de Goes                            42nd minute
BRA – Joao Oliveira                                               80+2

USA: 12-David Ochoa, 2-Ian Hoffmann, 3-Julian Araujo, 15-Victor Rangel, 24-Abraham Gonzalez, 13-Nelson Martinez (6-Mario Anaya, 62), 8-Aidan O’Toole (7-Aidan Morris, 55), 14-Jordan Bender (20-Gabe Segal, 62), 11-Jose Rivas (17-Matko Miljevic, 73), 9-Konrad De La Fuente, 19-Stefan Stojanovic (10-Mitch Cruz, 73)
Subs not used: 1-Nico Defreitas-Hansen, 4-Kevin Peraza, 18-Armando Haro, 21-Jalen Anderson
Head Coach: Omid Namazi

BRA: 1-Lucas Galdino de Azevedo, 2-Lucas Lima, 5-Jonathan Flores, 13-Kaique Lima, 16-Luan Candido de Almeida, 15-Bruno Tatavitto (3-Fabio Bogler, 78), 8-Victor Santos, 20-Lucas Andrade (7-Victor Arantes, 63), 10-Yuri de Oliveira (17-Wallace Almeida 73), 11-Rodrygo Sylva de Goes (19-Joao Oliveira, 78), 9-Yuri Monteiro da Silva
Subs not used: 4-Lucas dos Santos, 6-Lucas Sylva, 12-Yuri Batista, 14-Sandro Perpetuo, 18-Ruan dos Santos
Head Coach: Guilherme Dalla Dea Carlos

Stats Summary: USA / BRA
Shots: 8 / 11
Shots on Goal: 1 / 6
Saves: 4 / 1
Corner Kicks: 5 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 14
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
BRA – Victor Arantes (caution)                             70th minute  
BRA – Lucas Galdino de Azevedo (caution)     71
BRA – Fabio Bogler (caution)                               80+1

US Soccer

Sharp Names Paralympic National Team Roster for 2018 IFCPF Americas Championships

CHICAGO (Oct. 21, 2018) – U.S. Paralympic National Team head coach Stuart Sharp has named the 14 players who will represent the United States at the 2018 IFCPF Americas Championships in Quito, Ecuador from Oct. 23 – Nov. 4. The North and South American championship represents the PNT’s most important competition of the year and is the USA’s first major international tournament since last summer’s 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships. There, the PNT’s fifth-place finish marked the team’s best in the modern era. It also represents the USA’s first major competition since the International Federation for Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF) introduced its new classification rules for players in March.

Drawn into Group B for the eight-team tournament, the USA kicks things off on Saturday, Oct. 27 against Venezuela at 3:00 p.m. ET in the one of the competition’s opening match, takes on host Ecuador on Sunday, Oct. 28 at 3:00 p.m. ET and closes out pool play against Argentina on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 5:00 p.m. ET. The PNT will play two additional matches in the classification round, depending on their finish in the group.

2018 IFCPF Americas Championships Roster by Position (Hometown)

GOALKEEPERS (1): Marc Estrella (Bakersfield, Calif.)                                                          
DEFENDERS (6): Adam Ballou (Virginia Beach, Va.), Gregory Brigman (Harrisburg, N.C.), Josh Brunais (Stafford, Va.), Jacob Crumbley (Fortson, Ga.), David Garza (San Diego, Calif.), Jake Kaplan (Morganville, N.J.)  
MIDFIELDERS (3): Tyler Bennett (Wadsworth, Ohio), Andrew Bremer (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Nicholas Mayhugh (Manassas, Va.)                                            
FORWARDS (4): Cameron DeLillo (Blandon, Pa.), Shea Hammond (Upper Montclaire, N.J.), Seth Jahn (Lakeland, Fla.), John Sullivan (Tucson, Ariz.)

Five players join the squad from last summer’s World Championships roster: defenders Josh Brunais, Jacob Crumbley and Jake Kaplan as well as forwards Shea Hammond and John Sullivan. Brunais represented the USA with the PNT at the 2016 Paralympic Games, while the remaining trio will be competing in their first major international competition with the team.

After its stellar showing last summer, the USA enters the tournament ranked No. 4 in the world, its highest-ever mark. The tournament field is headlined by world No. 2 Brazil, who the USA defeated in a thrilling comeback placement match last summer, 3-2. Argentina, Canada and Venezuela also return from the 2017 World Championships.

The tournament features seven of the top eight teams in the IFCPF Regional Rankings for the Americas: No. 1 Brazil, No. 2 USA, No. 3 Argentina, No. 4 Canada, No. 5 Venezuela, No. 6 Chile, No. 8 Colombia and host Ecuador. After kicking off a new four-year cycle last summer in Argentina, the international Paralympic soccer calendar turns to continental competitions this year. The 2018 IFCPF African Championships and European Championships took place earlier this year, while the Asia-Oceania Championships are slated for Nov. of this year.

The Paralympic National Team is made up of players that have a neurological condition such as a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or cerebral palsy (CP). The Paralympic National Team is made up of players that have a neurological condition such as a traumatic brain injury, stroke, or cerebral palsy (CP).

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PNT Oct 21, 2018
US Soccer

Induction Weekend Enshrines 2018 Class at Home of New National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas

FRISCO, TEXAS (Oct. 20, 2018) – American Soccer Stars Brad Friedel, Tiffeny Milbrett and Cindy Parlow Cone as well as former U.S. Soccer President Dr. Bob Contiguglia were enshrined today as the 2018 Class in the new National Soccer Hall of Fame. MLS Commissioner Don Garber, a member of the 2016 HoF Class was also inducted, while legendary commentator JP Dellacamera was also honored with the Colin Jose Media Award.

The new National Soccer Hall of Fame, part of a $55 million renovation to Toyota Stadium, home to Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas, is a 19,350-square foot experience that honors the history of soccer in the United States while fully incorporating modern technology to celebrate the players, past and present, as well as builders of the game that have elevated the sport to where it is today. It features interactive exhibits, iconic soccer memorabilia and will serve as the home for annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The National Soccer Hall of Fame is scheduled to open to the public on Nov. 2, 2018.

For updates about the National Soccer Hall of Fame, follow the Hall of Fame’s Facebook, Twitter (@soccerhof) and YouTube accounts.

Friedel is currently the head coach of the New England Revolution. He began his coaching career with U.S. Soccer as the U-19 Men’s National Team head coach. Friedel had a decorated club career that spanned 23 professional seasons, including 17 in the English Premier League and 13 years with the United States Men's National Team. Between 1997 and 2015, Friedel made 450 league appearances in England's top flight with four clubs: Liverpool (1997-2000), Blackburn Rovers (2001-08), Aston Villa (2008-11), and Tottenham Hotspur (2011-15). As a U.S. international, Friedel collected 82 international caps and was a member of three United States World Cup squads in 1994, 1998 and 2002. The Lakewood, Ohio native represented the United States at two Olympic Games, in 1992 and 2000. Friedel played collegiately at UCLA where he won the Hermann Trophy in 1992 which is awarded to college soccer’s best player. Friedel was elected into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Milbrett is currently Director of Coaching for the Colorado Storm U-16 & U-17 Girls’. While playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Milbrett earned a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games, a silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Games and was a member of the squad that won the 1999 Women's World Cup. She earned 206 caps, scored 100 goals and played in three World Cups. Milbrett played professionally for clubs in Japan, the USA, Sweden and Canada from 1995-2010. The Portland, Oregon native and current Denver resident is the University of Portland’s secondleading goal scorer (103) and is fourth all-time in assists (40).

Currently the Girls Director for North Carolina FC’s, Cone has a decorated history with the U.S. Women’s National Team. She retired as the squad’s 5th all-time leading scorer during an era in which she helped the U.S. women win the World Cup in 1999 and take third place in 2003. Her career spanned 158 caps and she scored 75 goals while also earning her two Olympic gold medals and a silver medal. She still remains the youngest soccer player (male or female) to win an Olympic gold medal and a World Cup. Prior to her international career, Cone was a two-time NCAA Player of the Year and two-time NCAA National Champion at the University of North Carolina. Cone continued her Tar Heel career as an assistant coach where she helped guide the team to four NCAA Championships. As a coach at the professional level, she led the Portland Thorns to inaugural NWSL Championship (2013). She has also served on the coaching staff for the U.S. U-14 & U-15 Girls’ National Teams (2010-2013).

Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, affectionately known as “Dr. Bob,” served as President of U.S. Soccer from August of 1998 until March of 2006. U.S. Soccer achieved several important milestones during his tenure, including the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and an Olympic gold medal won by the U.S. Women at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Great Neck, N.Y. native and Denver, Colorado resident also served as the President of U.S. Youth Soccer from 1990-96. He is currently enjoying retirement and coaches a U-13 boys’ soccer team in Colorado.

Don Garber was named Commissioner of Major League Soccer in 1999 after 16 years at the National Football League where he served in a variety of senior leadership positions. During his tenure, MLS has expanded from 10 to 26 clubs, added 22 new owners and secured long-term broadcast agreements with ESPN, FOX and Univision along with major broadcasters in Canada, Europe, Asia and South America.  Garber has also led efforts to develop 19 soccer stadiums in the United States and Canada, and five more soccer venues will open in the next few years.  In addition, Garber serves as CEO of Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of MLS and multiple soccer properties, including U.S. Soccer. In 2011, the Los Angeles Times named Garber one of the nation’s top sports commissioners. He has been named among the top-50 most influential people in sports business by the Sports Business Journal every year since 2005. The Queens, N.Y. native was originally elected into the Hall of Fame in 2016 but wished to be enshrined this year to honor the Hunt family as part of the celebrations surrounding the opening of the new NSHOF in Frisco.

Earlier in the night, beloved commentator JP Dellacamera was celebrated for a lifetime of work announcing and covering the beautiful game in the United States. Dellacamera has called nine consecutive FIFA World Cups on television or radio, and five FIFA Women’s World Cups, including the 1999 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cups won by the U.S. Women’s National Team. Dellacamera was also on the broadcast teams for the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games for NBC Sports, and has called Major League Soccer games since the inaugural season in 1996 for ESPN, Fox and NBC. He has also worked as the play-by-player announcer for three MLS clubs: the Columbus Crew, the New York Red Bulls and, currently, the Philadelphia Union. He also called many indoor soccer matches during the 1980s.

The Colin Jose Media Award was created to honor the contributions of members of the print and electronic media, including reporters, columnists, authors, broadcasters, editors, public/media relations professionals and others who specialize in communications with respect to soccer in the United States. The award is named for Colin Jose, Historian Emeritus of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the preeminent soccer historian of North America.

About the National Soccer Hall of Fame 
The National Soccer Hall of Fame was originally founded in 1950 by the Philadelphia Old-Timers Association to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to American soccer. In 1979, the National Soccer Museum, as a physical entity, was established in Oneonta, N.Y. It was officially recognized as the National Soccer Hall of Fame by the U.S. Soccer Federation in 1983.

In June of 1999, the National Soccer Hall of Fame opened a 30,000 square-foot museum in Oneonta, N.Y. where it housed a collection of more than 80,000 items and artifacts such as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy, the oldest soccer ball made in the U.S. and the 1994 FIFA World Cup U.S. archive. The facility closed in February of 2010.

In 2013, FC Dallas owners, Clark and Dan Hunt, launched a campaign to bring the Hall of Fame to Frisco, Texas. Their late father, Lamar Hunt, was inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1999, he received the Hall’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. He remains one of only three individuals to have won the award.

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MNT WNT Oct 20, 2018
US Soccer

CHICAGO (Oct. 19, 2018) – The Induction Ceremony for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018 will be streamed on the new National Soccer Hall of Fame website beginning at 4:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Oct. 20. The ceremony will also stream live on the Hall of Fame’s Facebook, Twitter (@soccerhof) and YouTube accounts, as well as the Facebook accounts of Major League Soccer and the New England Revolution.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018 includes former U.S. Soccer president Dr. Bob Contiguglia on the Builder ballot, players Tiffeny Milbrett and Brad Friedel on the Player ballot as well as Cindy Parlow Cone on the Veteran ballot. Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, who was elected to the 2016 class but wished to be enshrined this year to honor the Hunt family as part of the celebrations surrounding the opening of the new NSHOF location, and legendary broadcaster JP Dellacamera, winner of the 2018 Colin Jose Media Award, will also be honored during the induction ceremony.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be followed by performances from the Revivalists and Grammy Award-winning band, Imagine Dragons, presented by Budweiser; gates open at 6 p.m. CT. The weekend will also include the 2018 Hall of Fame game featuring FC Dallas and Sporting KC on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m. CT and the NASL 50th anniversary match.

About the National Soccer Hall of Fame
The National Soccer Hall of Fame was originally founded in 1950 by the Philadelphia Old-Timers Association to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to American soccer. In 1979, the National Soccer Museum, as a physical entity, was established in Oneonta, N.Y. It was officially recognized as the National Soccer Hall of Fame by the U.S. Soccer Federation in 1983.

In June of 1999, the National Soccer Hall of Fame opened a 30,000 square-foot museum in Oneonta, NY where it housed a collection of more than 80,000 items and artifacts such as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy, the oldest soccer ball made in the U.S. and the 1994 FIFA World Cup U.S. archive. The facility closed in February of 2010.

In 2013, FC Dallas owners, Clark and Dan Hunt, launched a campaign to bring the Hall of Fame to Frisco, Texas. Their late father, Lamar Hunt, was inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1999, he received the Hall’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. He remains one of only three individuals to have won the award.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame is scheduled to open to the public on Nov. 2, 2018.

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Oct 20, 2018
US Soccer

Don Garber: "Truly an Honor"

Two events happened in May and August of 1999 that will forever be linked with sparking today’s thriving men’s professional game in the United States: the opening of the country’s first soccer-specific stadium in Columbus, Ohio, and the appointment of Don Garber as MLS Commissioner.

In order to better understand the significance of each – and how they are connected – let’s briefly review where the game was at the time.

Fulfilling a commitment made to FIFA in order to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Major League Soccer launched in 1996 with 10 teams and much fanfare.  

The first-year buzz led the league to expand to 12 teams in 1998. But deep down there were doubts about the league’s long-term viability, in which teams played in college and professional American football stadiums. Furthermore, there were only three owners who operated all the teams: Phil Anschutz, Robert Kraft, and Lamar Hunt.

Getting Soccer Specific

A sports pioneer, Mr. Hunt believed that a key component in the success of other sports franchises was that they played in their own stadiums. So out of necessity and with ambition, Lamar paid for and built the country’s first soccer-specific stadium. On May 15, 1999, Lamar Hunt’s Columbus Crew hosted Robert Kraft’s New England Revolution in the first game played in a stadium made for one of the league’s charter teams.   

It was one step, but the investors felt they needed a new vision in order to see out their belief in the game. As owners of wildly successful NFL franchises, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Kraft knew who they wanted to lead the league’s next phase. On August 4, 1999, MLS appointed 16-year NFL executive Don Garber as its new Commissioner.

And here’s how we know they made the right call: in 2016 Garber was elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame through the Builder’s Ballot.

“I can honestly say that it was totally unexpected and something that is truly an honor for me and for my family when you look at the list of players and Builders already inducted, and certainly this year’s class with Tiffeny Milbrett, Cindy Parlow Cone, Brad Friedel, Dr. Bob (Contigulia) and JP Dellacamera,” Garber said of his upcoming enshrinement.

2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Class

Garber opted to defer his official enshrinement until this year’s Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in Frisco, Texas to honor Lamar Hunt, who also built the stadium that houses the new soccer museum. “Most of all, I have to say it’s especially meaningful because we’ll be at the new National Soccer Hall of Fame just outside of Dallas, built by the Hunt Family as part of FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium complex. Lamar Hunt was one of the MLS owners directly responsible for my hiring as MLS Commissioner in 1999.”

Beckham’s MLS Spark

“On the field, David Beckham’s arrival in MLS in 2007 and the birth of the Designated Player rule was a signature moment that announced to the global soccer community our intention to become one of the top leagues in the world,” Garber said. “We set out then, more than 10 years ago, to make MLS a “league of choice” for the top international and U.S. National Team players. Without it, we would never have been able to sign players like Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry, David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore.”

The introduction and continued rise of salaries has provided teams flexibility to recruit high-profile and rising stars from all over the world. And just as important, another key initiative introduced under Garber’s leadership in 2007 was that of providing homegrown players a chance to join a club at a young age and dream of one day playing for their hometown club.

“There was also the mandate for every team to have their own academies to drive the development of young players for our clubs and National Teams,” he added. “We now have youth development academies and facilities that rival those of the game’s top clubs. The investment in player development and training facilities made by our owners during the last few years has been more than a half-billion dollars. When I look today at what FC Dallas and all the rest of our teams have done with their youth programs and the profound impact it has on U.S. Soccer, I believe it will help drive the future of our rosters and National Teams.”

Don Garber

In 2018, MLS is one of the most diverse leagues in the world, with players representing more than 70 countries. At the same time, the youth initiative continues to pay dividends, as over 250 players have signed first-team contracts.

From a business perspective, Garber guided the league through an initial step back with the contraction of two teams in order to set the stage for the giant leaps forward the league has taken over the past decade. This coincided with two major developments.

Major League Marketing Push

“Off the field, it was the creation of Soccer United Marketing, a company we founded almost 20 years ago to help grow the commercial value of soccer in America,” Garber explained. “The concept came out of a meeting in 2001 with some of our pioneering owners at Phil Anschutz’s ranch. MLS’ survival was on the line. We needed fresh ideas and a commitment to a strategic, long-term plan.”

At the time, no TV outlet was planning on broadcasting the upcoming World Cups. Teams had little control of dates or ancillary revenue streams as secondary tenants in massive stadiums. And the small footprint presented other challenges to gain the attention of the country’s soccer fans.

“A decision to purchase the rights to the FIFA World Cups in 2002 and 2006 was debated and ultimately approved,” Garber continued. “Soccer United Marketing was created out of those conversations and it led to two decades of enormous growth for our league and the advancement of soccer in the U.S. and Canada.”

SUM worked a deal to provide the rights to the World Cup to ABC/ESPN, ensuring the world’s biggest sporting event would air in the budding soccer nation. The USA advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and along the way captured the country’s attention, sparking an interest from the business world to casual sports fans.

“At that same meeting, the vision to build true, world-class soccer stadiums was also mapped out, and it’s extraordinary to think of where we are today,” Garber added. “In 1999 we had one soccer stadium built by Lamar Hunt in Columbus, Ohio. Next year, 20 of our clubs will play in soccer stadiums that are built specifically for the sport and that are accessible to our young and increasingly urban fan base.”

MLS Still Growing

Fast forward, and Garber’s steady approach has turned the League – and the sport – into one that continues to grow at a high rate. Consider this: in 2001 there were 10 MLS teams, three owners and one soccer stadium. In 2018, there are 23 teams with Cincinnati, Miami, and Nashville joining in the comings years, bringing the total number of owners to 26 and soccer stadiums to 23.

Talk about a Builder.

So fittingly, Garber joins an elite group who will forever be memorialized for their efforts and contributions to the beautiful game in the U.S.

And on an occasion meant to recognize him, Garber demurs, reminding us who helped set the vision of what he’s helped accomplish.

“Indelible - that’s the word to describe my memories of Lamar, whose grace will never be forgotten,” Garber said of his induction into the Hall of Fame in another house that Lamar built. “The support of Lamar, Clark, Dan and the entire Hunt family has enriched my life. But more importantly, beyond their impact personally on me, they will forever be viewed among the most important people in the history of our game in this country.”

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MNT Oct 19, 2018
US Soccer

Dr. Bob Contiguglia: "2002 Put Us on the Stage"

It’s easy to put things like soccer into perspective when you’ve dealt with life and death. “After being in critical care situations, you know to manage when the occasional crisis pops up and those around you are getting a little too excited,” said Doctor Bob Contiguglia – MD, U.S. Soccer President from 1998 to 2006 and one of the men responsible for helping the American game hit some of its highest notes. “I used to tell the staff at USSF when I was there and things got tough: ‘this isn’t life and death – I know life and death and this isn’t it,’ and that would always calm everyone down.”

Intelligent, ambitious and a leader from an early age, Contiguglia was drawn to the game of soccer on Long Island in his native New York. He grew up in the 1940s and 50s in Great Neck, just a stone’s throw from Lake Success where the United Nations was located before opening in its current home on Manhattan in 1952. “I was introduced to the game in grade school by a coach who was Israeli and also played in Israel and with the UN right down the road we had a lot of foreign kids in my school system. Because of that, there was lot of soccer played around me and I liked it right away.”

Contiguglia, now 77, recalls kicking a ball against a wall hundreds and hundreds of times each day, forcing himself to use both feet. There were trips to Randall’s Island with his high school teammates to see Pele play in the early days of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and watching the old PBS program Soccer Made in Germany to get a glimpse of the soccer world beyond. He took in all that was available to him before eventually lining up in the first varsity program at Colombia University since the end of World War II, between 1959 and 1963.

Medicine & Soccer
After that, soccer hit the back burner as Contiguglia pursued his medical degree. Medical School and training and residency doesn’t leave much free time and soccer fell by the wayside for a while. But it was there, during his training at King’s County Hospital in Brooklyn – one of the busiest city hospitals in the country at the time – that Contiguglia learned to deal with high stress, high pressure and high stakes. “It was a real gun-and-knife club back then and you had to manage emergency situations with no sleep and long hours. If you can manage those situations, other things suddenly become a lot easier.”

It was in the 1970s when soccer reemerged in Doctor Bob’s life. Having relocated to Denver, he picked up playing in the local men’s leagues – now as a left fullback instead of a speedy left winger. And when his son turned six, he was volunteered to coach. From there, his natural organizational instincts – honed as a student leader in both undergraduate and graduate school – took hold. “It started out locally and then I moved on to the Colorado State federation and you kind of develop and see what’s needed where you end up,” said Contiguglia, looking back on his first steps into soccer administration. “We united all the independent local organizations and we went from 300 registered players to 30,000 in six years.”

Hank Steinbrecher, Brandi Chastain, Dr. Bob Contiguglia
Standing with former CEO/Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher and player Brandi Chastain,
former U.S. Soccer President Dr. Bob Contiguglia (right) helped the U.S. stage the transformational 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Contigulgia went on to become president of U.S. Youth Soccer and by 1990, he was on the USSF Board of Directors in charge of guiding the stars of tomorrow, while Alan Rothenberg focused on hosting the upcoming World Cup in 1994, and Hank Steinbrecher handled the professionalization of the game in the country, which eventually led to the establishment of Major League Soccer (MLS) in 1996. It was a crossroads for the game in America. Contiguglia was elected USSF President in 1998, one year after the failure of the U.S. Men in France, a year before the pivotal 1999 Women’s World Cup and four years out from the USA’s best performance in a men’s World Cup in the modern era.

U.S. Soccer Savior?
“I remember a story running in the newspaper after I was elected president and there was my picture and the headline read: ‘Can this man save the sport?’” remembered Contiguglia. “There was fragility around MLS, which had just started. The men had just come off the horrible performance in France at the 1998 World Cup and we were still a year before the great success of the Women’s World Cup in 1999. My response was this: “Just look at the players we’re bringing up and what we’re doing – we had guys like Tim Howard and DaMarcus Beasley and a kid named Landon Donovan in the pipeline.”

Four years after the doom and gloom of 1998, Contiguglia – ever eager to pass the credit off to all those volunteers and subordinates down the line – had presided over an astonishing turnaround. He calls the 1999 Women’s World Cup, “the most important women’s sporting event of the 20th century,” and the 2002 Men’s World Cup in Korea and Japan stands as a watershed moment and the best performance by an American Men’s team in its modern era (1990-present). Many of those youngsters he pointed to in his first year on the job had fully come of age; the likes of Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley had become stars on the world stage in a run to the Quarterfinals, eliminating Mexico, stretching Germany, and unlucky not to reach the Semifinals.

Bruce Arena, Dr. Bob Contiguglia
Dr. Bob Contiguglia (right) and Bruce Arena (left) helped guide the U.S. MNT to its best finish at a FIFA World Cup in the modern era of U.S. Soccer.

“The reality is that 2002 put us on the stage,” said Contiguglia from his home in Colorado, where he teaches, fittingly, a college course on Sport and Society. “That was really the event that gave us credibility. We went from a minnow to a real player on the world stage. I remember going to a FIFA meeting and having delegates come up to me and say ‘you played better than Germany [in the Quarterfinals], it was a handball and you should have won the game – that coming from serious soccer people in the international arena was something.”

2003 Women’s World Cup – Last-Minute Challenge
In 2003, Contiguglia oversaw the considerable organizational challenge of putting on a FIFA Women’s World Cup on U.S. soil with only four months notice. The tournament was moved from China PR at the eleventh hour over fears surrounding the outbreak of the SARS virus. The Final of that 2003 tournament, which went off without a hitch, was played in the Home Depot center – then the USA’s sparkling new National Team Training Center, a project Contiguglia himself oversaw from start to finish.”

His tenure at the top of the Federation came to an end in 2006. And now, still coaching youth soccer out west, he enjoys looking back on a lifetime spent in the game – from kicking the ball against a wall with both feet to presiding over massive growth at the highest levels of the American game. “You’re able to sit down and reflect on what you’ve done over the last 65 years from where I am now,” he said. “It’s an enjoyable thing and it’s humbling to be honored by your peers. But somehow it seems improper for me to be recognized while so many who put so much into the game during the years aren’t – and I’ll be sure to stress the importance of all of those people when the time comes.”

dr bob WWC trophyJPG.JPG
Former U.S. Soccer President Dr. Bob Contiguglia with the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup trophy.

On 20 October, Dr. Bob will enter the National Soccer Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2018. What he’ll remember most, more than the wins or losses, were the connections made. “Relationships you made with your friends through soccer. I have those relationships through to this day,” said the former president, who still ranks among his best friends those teammates he lined up alongside at Colombia, organizing out West and raising the profile of game through the course of an impressive life in soccer. “These people, these connections – that’s what I remember most and what I value most.” 

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MNT WNT Oct 19, 2018