U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro proposes task force to address youth issues


Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

In his first major address about the state of American soccer since the USA secured the co-hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup, new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro proposed to form a task force to address a myriad youth soccer issues.

Cordeiro, who spent much of the first four months since his election as president lobbying FIFA members to secure the 2026 World Cup for the USA, Canada and Mexico, spoke Saturday at the U.S. Youth Soccer annual general meeting in Frisco, Texas.

Among the youth issues he touched on in his speech:

-- Stagnant participation numbers;
-- Fragmented and fractured landscape;
-- Overemphasis on winning trophies and making money;
-- Lack of level playing field; and
-- High cost of pay-to-play.

"In partnership with youth organizations like U.S. Youth Soccer," he said, "I’m ready to support the creation of a new task force that would -- for the first time ever -- bring all our youth members together to look at all the challenges we face and how we can do better. We’d have to work out the details and agree on the specific areas of focus."

He then laid out his challenge: If USA, Canada and Mexico could come together to support a United Bid for the 2026 World Cup, youth organizations should do the same to address these youth challenges.

Cordeiro said the World Cup 2026 bid campaign took far more time that he ever imagined it would after U.S. Soccer made it a priority when his predecessor, Sunil Gulati, launched the three-country bid in 2017.

"This wasn’t by any means a slam dunk," he said. "Earlier this year, our bid was not where it needed to be. We had no support in Africa, we were behind in Europe and we hadn’t really engaged in Asia. Given the geopolitics and anti-Americanism, the other bid -- Morocco -- was ahead in many ways."

Cordeiro said the work of the three co-bidders -- represented with co-chairs -- to pool their resources allowed them to work for every one of the 207 votes up for grabs. And it paid off on June 13 with a surprisingly decisive victory: 134-65.

"In essence," he said, "it gives us an eight-year runway to help energize and elevate soccer in America. It will help us inspire a new generation and bring more players into our ranks. It will help generate new revenue that we can invest to make soccer more affordable and develop the very best players, coaches and referees at all levels. It will attract even more fans, whose passion is helping to fuel the phenomenal growth of soccer across America."

As for federation work since his victory on the third ballot of a hotly contested election in Orlando, Cordeiro mentioned what he termed "reforms" that have been made:

-- The creation of new board committees to make the board more involved than it had been under Gulati;

Commercial Development Committee:
Committee Members: Chris Ahrens, Val Ackerman, John Collins, Steve Malik.
Staff Liaison: Jay Berhalter.

Technical Development Committee:
Committee Chairs: Carlos Bocanegra, Angela Hucles.
Committee Members: Don Garber, John Motta, Tim Turney.
Staff Liaison: Ryan Mooney.

-- The restructuring of senior management;
-- Expanded Membership Department;
-- Creation of new general manager positions for the two national teams; and
-- A new Chief Talent and Inclusion Officer to promote equality and diversity

11 comments about "U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro proposes task force to address youth issues".
  1. frank schoon, July 30, 2018 at 1:03 a.m.

    Boy, he’s excellent in creating new committees , tasks forces, and adding more administrative layers to soccer.
    No surprise here, for he’s done everything that you would expect from an administrative type who has never kicked a ball in his life. The only major announcement I would like to see coming from is resignation. 

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, July 30, 2018 at 12:08 p.m.

    I too was immediately struck by how bureaucratic his methods are. He wants to form the task force with reps from the organizations instead of forming a group of experts. 

    A problem solving task force has to have problem solvers and those people have to have technical advisors in the related fields. Managers and problem solver are two different roles. Managers of organizations are generally poor at solving their own organization's problems. Think about it. If the managers could solve their problems, they would have already done it. Cordiero's approach is not the best way to bring meaningful change to organizations, but it is non-threatening.

  3. Aaron Byers, July 30, 2018 at 2:25 a.m.

    Why are all the DA teams participating in tournaments? I guess they missed the memo about recovery, super compensation, peak performance, and the likes. I guess that means they have no clue why there was a game limitation during the season. Who is responsible for all the injuries to DA PLAYERS?Why are all the DA teams participating in tournaments? I guess they missed the memo about recovery, super compensation, peak performance, and the likes. I guess that means they have no clue why there was a game limitation during the season. Who is responsible for all the injuries to DA PLAYERS?Why are all the DA teams currently participating in regular your tournaments? The kind with 4-5 games in weekend. I guess they missed the memo about recovery, super compensation, peak performance, and the likes. I guess that means they have no clue why there was a game limitation during the season. Who is responsible for all the injuries to DA PLAYERS?
     

  4. Ron Benson, July 30, 2018 at 6:57 a.m.

    DA boys and girls still not being allowed to play high school soccer sets up a bad taste in the local youth soccer scene .
    If you want youth soccer to flurish , have local teams , with a chance to move on to championships at the end of the season .
    Cutout most of the long trips , cups , 3 games in a weekend and the discouragement of playing more than one sport .
    Local fan support is very important and can build a base for the best athletes to chose soccer as their main sport . The locals will finance , build and maintain soccer facilities if they identify with the local kids/teams .

  5. Gary Troy replied, July 30, 2018 at 7:34 a.m.

    Ron you nailed it.  Also get costs down.  Coaching youth soccer should not be a 5 figure income for the coach.  

  6. Hat Trick replied, July 30, 2018 at 10:04 p.m.

    Ron that is a ridiculous group of ideas.  Makes too much sense.

  7. Wallace Wade, July 30, 2018 at 8:19 a.m.

    These new committees are just the same old Ivory Tower insiders. I’m surprised Gulati isn’t heading one of these. Everyone knows this is window dressing. Nothing good ever comes out of these “committees”. Especially ones where Don Garber is involved. Things are even worse with the youth since the election. 

  8. beautiful game, July 30, 2018 at 9:31 a.m.

    Another "dog & pony" show.  

  9. Kevin Leahy, July 30, 2018 at 10 a.m.

    Can't say that I know John Motta or Tim Turney but, why is Don Garber on the technical development committee? The youth problem is as much about egos as anything. The adults want it there way. There is way too much structure. I still hear coaches talk about this one isn't fast enough or strong enough. Why do most of the senior national team players in all countries not come  from the U23,U-19 or U16 age groups. When you can figure that out, you might have something.


  10. s fatschel, July 30, 2018 at 12:16 p.m.

    They seem to be moving very slowly and since the seaon starts in 2 weeks we are sure to wait another year before any changes are made. Maybe change is not wanted as it means less money to be made?

  11. R2 Dad, July 30, 2018 at 12:40 p.m.

    Thx for reporting on this.

    Unfortunately, Carlos' example of the United Bid for the 2026 World Cup is nothing at all like the challenge to fix youth soccer. I would suggest it's more like having Trump, Hillary and Bernie election teams meeting to hash out Campaign Finance Reform--sounds great on paper but there can never be meaningful concensus.

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