Two weeks after the United States won the Women's World Cup, reality has set in.
A few players are heading back to school either as students or coaches. Others are playing out the W-League season. There are camp appearances to make. And for some, it's simply time to rest.
The reality is that U.S. Soccer will fight tooth and nails to block the U.S. players' principal money-making opportunity, their proposed indoor tour this fall. As we went to press, our Tampa correspondent, Bill Ward, reported in the Tampa Tribune
that U.S. Soccer could file an injunction any day to block the 11-city tour.
U.S. Soccer president Bob Contiguglia was earlier quoted as saying his organization was "pretty flexible," over the issue, but he'd be crazy if he didn't protect U.S. Soccer's (often challenged but never beaten) control over the soccer market.
Contiguglia, who presides over his first AGM July 29-31 in Louisville, is under considerable pressure. He has the unenviable task of coming down hard on the women, whether the public agrees or not.
Contiguglia faces several other tough issues.
He's under pressure to come down hard on the existing ODP program. There's a move afoot for competitive youth clubs to affiliate directly with U.S. Soccer, bypassing youth soccer. These are all part of the fight to promote the Project 2010.
On the political front, there's apparently a movement among the youth and seniors to seek a merger and effectively cut out the "pro vote" that propelled Contiguglia into power last summer in Maui.
The pros decided two of the last three elections and almost cost Alan Rothenberg a second term after the '94 World Cup.
Dr. Bob, as he's known, is considered to be a lightweight in many quarters, so how he effectively handles these issues will go a long way toward either stamping out or reinforcing that image.
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