Athletes get a 20% share (by Federal law), and Youth, Adult and Pro factions get 25.8% each, plus 2.6% "miscellaneous."
That seems a reasonable distribution -- but for one glaring omission. Referees.
The latest U.S. Soccer Financial Statement on its web site is from 2016. Here's where the referees are mentioned:
Referee Registration and affiliation fees:
That's a lot of registration without representation.
I pay $50 a year to renew my Grade 8 U.S. Soccer referee license, and in return, a month or so later, I receive my new badge. What I no longer get is a copy of the rulebook.
I kid you not, the U.S. Soccer Federation does not send its referees a copy of the rulebook. It refers refs to the download on its web site.
No matter how accustomed we are becoming to phone, tablet and computer reading, I would wager that the majority of refs would still like to have the printed rulebook.
My first (circa 1977) and most recent badge.
The U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program does provide some excellent services. Its monthly e-letters and YouTube channel provide valuable info and continued education for refs, and even has Spanish-language videos. And I hail U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati for in 2015 responding to the request to allow us to wear caps to protect us from the threat of skin cancer. The Federation obviously does care about and listen to its refs.
But it should also give refs a vote.
If refs had a vote, I'd ask our representative to get commitments from the candidates to send us a rulebook. I'd ask for the patch to come with velcro (which would alleviate a small inconvenience but would be greatly appreciated). And it shouldn't take so long to get the patch.
Spending another $6 for the rulebook may not sound like a lot. But every little bit helps. After buying all the required gear and paying for registration, you've got to officiate four or five games just to break even.
It's not just about the money, though. The 150,000 U.S. Soccer-registered referees have experience at all levels of the game, and interact with every sector of the soccer community -- players, parents, coaches, administrators.
That makes refs an invaluable source for perspective on the American game -- and deserving of a vote.