U.S. Soccer creates Youth Task Force: 'An opportunity to transform soccer in America'

Mike Hoyer (AYSO), Doug Wood (SAY Soccer), Mike Cullina (U.S. Club Soccer), Craig Scriven (USSSA) and Pete Zopfi  (U.S. Youth Soccer) have been named to U.S. Soccer's Task Force to address youth soccer issues in the USA.

U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro, who was elected in February, announced in June his intentions of creating the Youth Task Force to tackle issues such as:

-- 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.

U.S. Soccer's open letter to the youth soccer community

As you may know, U.S. Soccer formed a special task force to specifically address youth soccer matters.  The belief is that our sport is much stronger when its stakeholders are working together.

We took our first step last Friday, Oct. 12, holding the first Youth Task Force Leadership Council meeting in Tampa, Fla.  With a council comprised of the leadership from AYSO, SAY Soccer, US Club Soccer, USSSA, US Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Federation, we discussed a number of critical issues facing youth soccer in America.

We believe that with an eight-year runway toward the 2026 FIFA World Cup, we have an opportunity to transform soccer in America, and it starts by tackling the challenges in front of us at the grassroots level.

This Task Force, which will grow to include experts and thought leaders supporting a number of working groups, will focus on areas where we believe we can work together to create significant and lasting change, while supporting the strategic vision for U.S. Soccer.

As we work together, the following statement guides our approach:

Soccer is the most beloved sport in the world, and we believe it’s future in the U.S. will be positively impacted by our efforts to work cooperatively under a shared sense of purpose and a common belief in supporting the development of players, coaches and referees.

In that way, we believe …
… that players should be kept at the center of every decision, and should be provided with an environment that is fun, inclusive and safe.
… that coaches should participate in courses and educational opportunities that match their ambition.
… that referees should be treated with respect, and provided with the resources that allow them to develop and enjoy the experience.

There are many faces of youth soccer -- across all ages and levels of competition -- and we are unified in our desire to grow the sport together. 

In closing, we wish to express our deepest gratitude to the many thousands of volunteers and professionals who have dedicated their lives to this beautiful game.  You inspire us, and together we will work to improve the game for all those who participate in it.

-- Mike Hoyer (AYSO), Doug Wood (SAY Soccer), Mike Cullina (U.S. Club Soccer), Craig Scriven (USSSA) and Pete Zopfi (U.S. Youth Soccer), and U.S. Soccer's Carlos Cordeiro, Dan Flynn, John Collins and Tim Turney.
* * * * * * * * * *

Zopfi of Cal North was elected U.S. Youth Soccer Chair in August.

Hoyer is AYSO's National Executive Director.

Cullina became Chairman of U.S. Club Soccer’s Board of Directors in January.

Scriven is the National Director of the United States Specialty Sports Association.

Wood is the Executive Director of SAY Soccer.

20 comments about "U.S. Soccer creates Youth Task Force: 'An opportunity to transform soccer in America'".
  1. R2 Dad, October 17, 2018 at 3:59 p.m.

    These people all have the same types of background--adminstration. I don't believe any are active coaches or referees--and that's part of the problem. Where are the subject authorities required of a task force? In order to add value, a task force has to work through differences in opinion. These people, while I'm sure all competent administrators, are drinking the same koolaid. Where do the provocative notions come from? Otherwise, the task force has no bite, and no I doubt Carlos has given them any teeth. Curious to see what kind of recommendations result.

  2. Beau Dure replied, October 17, 2018 at 4:47 p.m.

    Cullina is a longtime coach in the DC exurbs and is still TD (and ED) of Prince William Soccer, one of the larger clubs in the area. Also academy director at Virginia Development Academy. 

  3. Paul Gorishek, October 17, 2018 at 6:52 p.m.

    I see women are well represented in this group!  Good thing only men know how to address these issues.  Looks like we're still living in the 50's.

  4. Dawn Harry, October 17, 2018 at 6:53 p.m.

    These people are also all men. 

  5. Kevin Leahy, October 17, 2018 at 7:31 p.m.

    What is the agenda? The biggest question to me is how to get the ones that, are off the beaten path. There are many minority's in this country which are first generation Americans. We need to do a better job of integrating all these youth players and let the talent raise the level of all.

  6. Alvaro Bettucchi, October 17, 2018 at 7:49 p.m.

    The first item I noticed, what no women?  Girls and women soccer has become a leading sport in this country. Get them, the individuals that are qualified, to participate in the committees. And, oh yes, one last comment.  Please no more English coaches "FOR A WHILE". Looking at the Peru vs USA match, we have good coaches here and outstanding up-coming American players. We need to get away from the influence of English soccer.

  7. Bob Ashpole, October 17, 2018 at 8:27 p.m.


  8. Ric Fonseca, October 17, 2018 at 8:58 p.m.

    What troubles me is the apparent lack of inclusion with this committee, and yet once again, very little if any mention of inner city youth participation is mentioned.  So, que pasa amigos del futbol?  

    To Paul G and Dawn H, I share your what seems your total and complete dismay.  As for "still living in the 50's(sic)"  No, really???  And just what is the US Specialty Sports Association?

  9. Goal Goal, October 17, 2018 at 9:10 p.m.

    Excellent.  That is just what we need. A TASK FORCE.  Amen to the brains at US SOCCER

  10. beautiful game, October 17, 2018 at 9:36 p.m.

    So what? It's a fiscal game as usual for USSF. Time to create a nationwide task to identify U-12 potential and create a proactive system to develop that talent.

  11. , October 17, 2018 at 10:40 p.m.

    A more diversified background would have been most helpful. 

  12. Doug Andreassen, October 18, 2018 at 12:15 a.m.

    There is something wrong when you do not have a statement that address's inclusion, diversity and the underserved as one of the issues with youth soccer. With the committee consisting of all males, it should not surprise any of us that these issues are not in forefront of solving the Youth Soccer issue. At the very least, the committee should consist of members that look like America, and this does anything but look it to me.

  13. replied, October 18, 2018 at 12:50 a.m.

    Totally agree, Doug.

  14. frank schoon replied, October 18, 2018 at 12:42 p.m.

    Doug, don't be so cynical, LOL.  As soon as I saw the word DIVERSITY, I knew where this was going.

  15. Doug Andreassen replied, October 18, 2018 at 12:46 p.m.

    Even if we take the word, Diversity out of the equation, in an effort to find a compromise, we should for sure include the word, Inclusion...something we can all agree on. 

  16. frank schoon replied, October 18, 2018 at 1:59 p.m.

    Doug, it's all the same difference...no difference ,just word games....

  17. Bob Ashpole, October 18, 2018 at 9:27 a.m.

    The task force is just window dressing. USSF is not interested in reform, just self-verification of how great a job all the member organizations are doing. This is typical behavior for a bureaucracy.

  18. frank schoon, October 18, 2018 at 10 a.m.

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry...Another committee, this one is to rectify or improve, or rather TRANSFORM  US soccer. Lets face it, this is what you get with an administrator, a president of USSF ,who has never even smelled the grass on a soccer field. This Cordeiro thinks that solving a problem requires creating a committee  to TRANSFORM ,any soccer problem. This is an absolute joke, as is the time taking to find a USMT coach. And in addition some commenters  , I sense, apparently have  taken many sociology courses for they have to view every and any initiative  first through the lense of egalitarianism, for otherwise we'll end up in failure. This whole process is like trying to build a car via committee , or what was that animal build by a committee, a camel.
    Wouldn't it be nice if the headline stated " A Youth Task Force Is Set Up To Create a Subculture of Pickup Soccer". Most if not all of these problems here enumerated would be done away.
    Can you imagine that our contributions are spend on a committee that worries about the TROPHY situation. Yeah, like this will definitely improve player skills on the field and hopefully improve our passing abilities from being 2 to 3 passes in a row without ball loss, and I'm only referring here to the USMNT.
    This Cordeiro is steeped in present day PC having appointed on one committtee both a male and female for teaching technique or technical aspects. I had no idea there was gender differences in kicking or passing a ball, but anyway Cordeiro is steeped in today's PC to cover himself in case of the bean counters who see everything in misrepresentation.
    We need someone to CLEAN house in the USSF and it won't be done by Cordeiro

  19. R2 Dad replied, October 18, 2018 at 12:34 p.m.

    Thank you, voting members of USSF. This is the "change" they voted for.

  20. Ric Fonseca replied, October 19, 2018 at 10:37 p.m.

    FRANK SCHOON FOR US MNT HC OR MANAGER!    Oh and btw, the original committee was set up to design a horse, and 'cause everyone had "an oponikon" they settled on a drommedary two humped camel.  (source: Introduction to Social anthropology 101)

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