Commentary

U.S. Soccer's role in youth soccer will change dramatically. For better or worse?

The future of the Girls Development Academy was already in doubt, pre-coronavirus, because of the defections of major clubs to the ECNL. Now the Boys DA is on very shaky ground.

As of Tuesday, April 14, U.S. Soccer had yet to cancel the remainder of the 2019-20 Development Academy season. The pandemic may have created too much uncertainty to expect U.S. Soccer to promptly detail its long-term plans, but the vacuum of communication from U.S. Soccer led club directors to speculate that the Federation could be pulling the plug on both the Girls and Boys Development Academy programs.

Club directors on the boys side -- not including MLS clubs -- started extensive discussions among themselves aimed at coming up with alternatives to a USSF-operated DA. For some, the Boys ECNL presented the best option. Unclear for all is how U.S. Soccer envisions its future involvement in youth soccer, which increased significantly on the boys side with the DA's launch in 2007, and with the Girls DA launch in 2017.

The coronavirus interruption had already guaranteed that youth soccer would change in the USA and that the Development Academy could not continue in its current form.

U.S. Soccer budgeted $9.4 million for the DA but it will take an economic blow forcing it to reassess that expenditure and all others. Families, if it's even an option for them within the new economic realities, will reconsider spending thousands of dollars on their children's soccer. Even within the more optimistic predictions of when we can be mobile again, will parents sign up their children for teams that require frequent air travel?

Youth soccer will be different, but it could also be better. With this crisis comes the opportunity to reboot American youth soccer, and a chance for U.S. Soccer to regain the trust of its disillusioned membership. The path would include:

1. U.S. Soccer retreats from DA

As I wrote in January, U.S. Soccer started the Boys DA in 2007 with good intentions but the time had come for the USSF to retreat to focusing on its youth national team program and expanding its scouting network -- rather than micromanaging how the nation's elite clubs run their soccer. As the years went on after the 2007 launch, U.S. Soccer ramped up its regulations and restrictions. The one-size-fits-all approach is ill-suited for a nation as geographically and demographically diverse as the USA. And there's been enough improvement in American soccer that the Federation should trust the clubs, leagues and coaches. By leaving the DA, U.S. Soccer would remove itself from the youth turf war and take a first step toward repairing its relationship with the other parts of its membership that represent the vast majority of America's youth players.

2. Support and aid in the transition

For some clubs, the dissolving of the DA may come as a relief, for others it could be a tough blow. U.S. Soccer needs to get all of the youth soccer governing bodies and MLS and USL representation into the same room (or Zoom) to start working together on navigating the new era in youth soccer. Instead of telling clubs and membership how it's going to be, ask them how they think it should be. Even if there's not a consensus, by no longer running the DA, U.S. Soccer can start facilitating instead of dictating.

3. Look for solutions from within

I would never be against looking abroad for ideas, whether it's soccer or anything else. But we've gone too far in trying to imitate countries with which we have so little in common -- while ignoring our own strengths. We have in the USA accomplished, intelligent and dedicated soccer people who have not been asked by U.S. Soccer for their advice or insight. I also have a long list of DOCs of DA clubs with an impressive history of success who haven't been asked for input in U.S. Soccer decision-making. There may be imperfections in the history of American soccer's rise, but to ignore those who made it happen is to waste important resources.

4. Connect with college soccer

American soccer's major leap forward in the 1990s came thanks much to coaches from the college ranks. Now, it'd be difficult to find a college coach who believes U.S. Soccer has any respect for the college game. Whether or not college soccer can produce men's national team players is not the point. College soccer continues to have a major influence on the youth game. Its ranks include some of the USA's most experienced coaches with a history of guiding various generations of young American players. That the pandemic will have a profound impact on the college game is all the more reason for U.S. Soccer to include college coaches in the process of navigating the future course. It would be mutually beneficial for U.S. Soccer to reconnect with college soccer.

5. Apologize to high school soccer and embrace it

One of the stupidest, most disrespectful and nonsensical moves U.S. Soccer ever made was demonizing high school soccer as a player development detriment. The Federation can make no plausible defense of its attitude toward high school soccer because it cannot point to any significant progress that the American game has made thanks to in 2012 banning Boys DA players from high school ball -- instead of leaving that decision to the players and clubs. The likes of Christian Pulisic choose not to play high school soccer because a different pathway is obvious to them. Thousands of other players didn't play high school soccer because U.S. Soccer forced their hand and they were denied of a great experience. And isn't it a development truism that playing with and against older players is beneficial? So why deny a DA freshman that chance?

Common for lower-income kids who can't afford club soccer, such as in the Latino community, is to play high school soccer and adult Latin league ball, neither of which U.S. Soccer regularly scouts. A post COVID-19 era would allow mainstream soccer's best to play high school, which could help the marginalized players get the attention of college and even national team scouts. While everybody lamented pay-to-play youth soccer, the Federation disparaged the biggest cost-free youth soccer we have instead of helping it improve. Now U.S. Soccer has a chance to change its attitude when it's more important that ever.

6. Embrace United Soccer Coaches

The United Soccer Coaches (previously known as the NSCAA) -- the world's largest coaching organization -- continues to be the most unifying soccer organization in the USA. Anyone attending its convention can attest to that. How has it been treated by U.S. Soccer? It stopped recognizing United Soccer Coaches' diplomas, yet when U.S. Soccer couldn't staff its own coaching courses it asked for the United Soccer Coaches' help. The increased travel that U.S. Soccer's higher-level license courses require is even more problematic now. U.S. Soccer should collaborate with the coaching education of United Soccer Coaches, US Youth Soccer, U.S. Club Soccer and AYSO. Last time I checked, they're all decent, similar and none have a magic formula that set it above another.

7. Regionalize youth soccer

Thanks to the DA rules, we have in the USA clubs that travel hundreds of miles to play teams that aren't as competitive as a neighboring team that plays with a different badge. In fact, the original plan for the DA wasn't to create a national league, but to help clubs around the country improve their training environment. We need to go back to that.

U.S. Soccer should aid clubs without dictating to them, and encourage localized soccer. If you have an incredibly talented U-12 team that can't find competitive U-12 games, play in a U-14 league. If your U-18s are so good they win every game, enter them in an adult league if a good one is available. To its credit, U.S. Soccer never went as far as U.S. Youth Soccer or the ECNL on youth national championships for the younger age groups -- but it does create significant travel expenses with showcases that require cross-country flights. And the DA has long-distance travel for regular-season games combined with a sub limit that sends kids on costly trips for limited minutes of action.

The cost-saving by regionalizing play is more important than ever as clubs and parents face the economic fall-out from the pandemic. However it unfolds, decreasing national championships and national showcases for so many age groups at all levels of youth soccer, not just the DA, will be a silver lining to the crisis.

8. Let the pros take the lead

U.S. Soccer's attempt to appease MLS clubs unhappy with the DA only led to discontent from all quarters. In the new era, MLS and USL clubs can take the lead by creating one competition, at U-16 or U-17. That's the age at which they need to make a decision on signing young players. Their older youth players (pros or still on academy contracts) should be playing with reserve teams. MLS needs to finally abolish territorial rights and MLS clubs can scour the nation for the players they feel confident in investing in. The Boys DA had already reached a point at which the amateur DA clubs were ready to forge a path without U.S. Soccer trying to balance their needs with MLS's. For all the other age groups, MLS clubs can work with local clubs -- regardless of what organization the players are registered with. Farther down the road, U.S. Soccer can consider hosting regional championships that invite the best clubs no matter who they're affiliated with. More importantly, U.S. Soccer should redirect resources to expanding talent ID centers around the nation and scouting players regardless of affiliation.

26 comments about "U.S. Soccer's role in youth soccer will change dramatically. For better or worse?".
  1. Peter Hattrup, April 14, 2020 at 1:01 p.m.

    Great insight Mike, but afraid it might be too logical ! Hope The Federation takes some , if not all of these steps!

  2. cony konstin, April 14, 2020 at 1:09 p.m.

    MLS can take care of investing in elite male players but will take up the slack for our ladies who actually earn it from all of hardware that they have won? If USSF doesn't invest in our ladies then Spain, France, Germany and several other countries will bypass us in female football. We need radical change.

  3. Peter Bechtold, April 14, 2020 at 1:35 p.m.

    1.Always looking forward to your articles,MW, thanks.
    2. I am not sure--either way--about your comments re HS and College, but like to see an informed debate. Way back, I coached a college team to the ACC championship in the '70s and a select youth team to a regional championship on the East coast in the '80s, all as unpaid volunteer. My club team provided the players for the HS team that won the MD 4A state championship. All of this is a long time ago, before Pay-toPlay, MLS,etc. So I am dated.

    3. The biggest problem I have with HS and College is structural:a) The seasons are way too short; b) the changing rosters of seniors graduating,freshmen coming in,etc. means no continuity in a team sport that requires time to get in sync with new teammates; c) the tendency to squeeze 18 or so matches into a 9-10 week schedule ruins player development; d) midweek matches were often refereed by whoever was available during daytime in Fall,etc.more often poorly qualified(who can show up at 2:30 for a 3pm match in Oct/Nov?) e) different rules by HS administrators in neighboring states, and NCAA rules in college,not FIFA.

    4. Your point about the size and heterogeneity of the US is well-taken. Why can we not organize youth soccer on a state/provincial basis with their own oversight and championships leading to regional and finally national tournaments ? Did it not used to be that way in the '80s and '90s ? (Similar to where you? and I grew up).
    5. I always felt that up to the U-13/14 level good American select teams would be competitive with their counterparts abroad, but from about 15-years old the American players fell well behind their overseas counterparts, not B/c of personalities, but the structural system.

  4. Dan Woog, April 14, 2020 at 1:36 p.m.

    A superb analysis, Mike, from so many important angles. As with so many other unintended consequences of this horrible pandemic, the silver lining is a chance for US Soccer to reboot (pun intended) its entire fractured relationship with the constituencies it is supposed to serve.

  5. Edward C Weil replied, April 15, 2020 at 1:32 p.m.

    Dan
    I totally agree my friend
    It's time to regroup and make better use of our coaches at all levels
            make it affordable for all at all levels
             realize our High schools soccer make us different and needs to be enhanced
    you are a great teacher and created many soccer advocates - I'm one
    thank you 

  6. Bob Ashpole, April 14, 2020 at 2:12 p.m.

    From a development aspect, the DA concept or any "national" league never made sense for amateur youth.

  7. Lynn Berling-manuel, April 14, 2020 at 2:49 p.m.

    As always Mike is on point. US Soccer has the opportunity to re-set and reimagine what its role in youth soccer can look like. Including coaches in the conversation is pivotal. Pro, college, youth, and high school coaches should all be at the table. For many, it's their living but for all it is their passion. We must work together or it cannot work at all. United Soccer Coaches is unique in that it is not governance  of coaches but instead is service for and by coaches. It's a member of US Soccer and is the right body to bring coaches into this critical conversation. 

  8. Tim Schum, April 14, 2020 at 3:04 p.m.

    Nice analysis. I am currently conducting some research focused on the role(s) played by the U.S. coaching community relative to the growth of the game over the last 70years.It appears that that research reveals a major mistake was made by US Soccer in the early 1970s. Namely a failure to properly manage the rise of youth soccer. IF it had devoted its energies to organizing all of the youth movementunder its umbrella you wouldn't had various organizations (USYSA, AYSO and like) emerging to organize the youth game. Unfortunately US Soccer was ill-equipped both organizationally and fiscally to give youth soccer one platform from which to operate.The result has been a disjointed approach to all levels of youth development in this country. That that has included a dismissal of the traditional role of our high school game is just one example of what can happen as a result of such lack of sensitivity.

    As a former President of United Soccer Coaches and editor of its Soccer Journal magazine, I long advocated for a merging of its resources of our organization with those of US Soccer. But from its earliest history there had been a distrust by its ethnic leadership of "those college guys" to the present where a coordinated, one shop stop approach to coaching education alone would be worth consideration, little cooperatrion has taken place.

    As indicated in today's column I have never understood why if US Soccer is supposed to advocate for the game, why hasn't it supported the collegiate game? Instead it has been left for individual coaches as Shaso Cirovski and others before him (Joe Morrone, Jerry Yeagley, Anson Dorrance, etc.) to plow ahead. It looks as if the long advocated two season initiative led by the dogged Shaso has a chance at reality. Thus the earlier critique of the college game (too many games in too short a season) will go away. Meantime as indicated why are we wasting such valuable soccer resources (coaches; infrastructure) that the college has to offer? 

    The stark reality of US Soccer's disconnect with societal trends has been exposed with the legal machinations it is attempting in order to stave off threatend backrupcy as a result of its Neanderthalian appreach to dealing with the lawsuit by their own women's national team.

    I recall years ago an attempt was made by Dr. Ray Bernabei to coordinate referee training with that then existent at US Soccer. There was such pushback by US Soccer that he, one of the very best administrators in our game's history, talked about challenging the 1913 FIFA endorsement of then USFSA to lend oversight of the sport in this country.    

    Perhaps there is enough dissatisfaction (let's leave aside our failure to qualify for the last World Cup) to somehow mobilize and challenge FIFA's decision over a century ago to entrust the growth of the game to what is known as US Soccer. 

  9. Newman W Stemple, April 14, 2020 at 3:52 p.m.

    Mike, you nailed it.  This is the best article that I've read in a long time.  US Soccer should adopt your ideas completely.  But, don't hold your breath Amaerica!!!

    I coached high school soccer long ago (70s & 80s) in an area where there was no club soccer available.  Many of my players went on to play college ball.  Their high school and college experiences were positive parts of their growth and development as young men.  Now that we have viable professional leagues, let's let them develop the professional and National team players.  Still, the quality high school / college player will rise to the top and be found by the pro or National team scouts.

    Allow youth soccer to serve America's youth while the DA becomes a league for the pro team's youth development programs.

  10. Guy Walling, April 14, 2020 at 3:55 p.m.

    I believe this was the direction soccer in America was heading even before the pandemic. US Soccer was trying to give everyone a hint when they separated the U17/U18 in a red/blue division. That was my first clue that more changes are to come. Most MLS academies want nothing to do with non-MLS academies, let alone wanting their own academy under the age of U15. So it makes perfect sense moving forward. However, in order to respect college soccer as a development platform, it must change as well to a split season with unrestricted hours a collegiate player can train with the team and coaching staff! I believe the NCAA was also seriously looking at that too prior to the pandemic. I believe it was moving in the right direction and will continue to do so because of the pandemic. So if there is any silver lining during these terrible times, it's the reflection of where we came, where we are, and where we're going. Stay safe everyone!

  11. humble 1, April 14, 2020 at 4:19 p.m.

    Good article.  Comprehensive.  Agree with all the points - only - I would put #6 as #1.  What folks miss about HS and College soccer is that - yes the season and rules are so different - but this does not change the fact that HS and College have the most players - to make the most of what we as a soccer nation have - we all need to be working to ensure that the level of coaching and training in HS and College continues to improve.  This is why #6 should be #1.  Let's see what happens with DA.  It was a failed model - the last two olympic cycles show this - the was a reprise this time bc of the delay of the playoff in Mexico - maybe they would have made it - but not likely - as DA is too soft - and the delta from the comfortable world of the inter league DA USSF soccer to the CONCACAF world of Spanish speaking refs and hardened street players from Spanish speaking nations Mexico and Central America was too much. But, there's a lot of folks makin a livin from the way things are and they will be fighting like the dickens to keep it from changing.      

  12. James Madison, April 14, 2020 at 5:29 p.m.

    Wow!  There is an adult in the room!!

  13. uffe gustafsson, April 14, 2020 at 6:14 p.m.

    HS soccer is the only none pay to play model we have.
    for many families with really good players this is the only option since club soccer and especially DA is out of reach for most families. College coaches do come to watch HS games. My daughter included, she played club NPL for many years, but her most satisfying time playing was always HS, the social aspect of HS always trumped club soccer as in school/community pride.
    we have many HS teams that will beat any NPL team every time. The notion of playing college soccer you have to play DA I don't think its all that true.
    she got to play college because of HS game that the coaches watched. And we had others on the HS team that went to play college because of HS.
    My biggest issue is club soccer have started to be all year long and only stop for HS and that also start to encroach on HS training for the up coming season and HS season is very very short and lots of games in a short amount of time.

  14. frank schoon, April 14, 2020 at 6:51 p.m.

    Excellent, Mike. Reading this tells me you have the pulse on things. As I read this ,just looking over the total picture, the Authoritarian structures, the rules, the additional new regulations in the past 25years  and what not that has been occurring to our various soccer organizations  and soccer in general, I ask myself how has all of this contributed in developing better soccer players. THAT'S WHAT I LIKE TO KNOW, for I don't it.

    Do you really think, as popular as soccer is becoming we wouldn't have certain talented youth going over to Europe without these DA programs or what not. DA programs don't develop talent, natural talented players will always be around. The Ajax youth development program is set up to make mediocre players play better or perhaps a step higher BUT AJAX DOES NOT MAKE TALENT. Wesley Sneyder or Rafael van der Vaart were already natural talented players who only needed to get their rough edges polished. It is the mediocre players as Cruyff states where development applies for they are the ones that will become the SUPPORTING cast for the talented players.

    As far as I'm concerned  breakup and disintegrate and go back to how things were in the 90's so to speak. Like Mike states a good U12 team should play up a year. That's what you do with individual players at Ajax youth. Bring back the importance of HS ball and what not, and furthermore all the soccer organizations, coaches need to SERIOUSLY come together and JOINEDLY support in BRINGING ABOUT A CULTURE OF PICKUP SOCCER. It needs to be done if you really want to support better development of youth players. This whole pay for play has become a money soaking adventure. Pay for play has always been around but today it has become a joke that soaks naive parents.

  15. Matthew McConnochie, April 14, 2020 at 9:07 p.m.

    Yes, Mike. All of this needs to happen. Thank you for writing it down.

  16. Kent James, April 14, 2020 at 9:17 p.m.

    Generally excellent article Mike.  I especially like that you pointed out the availability of HS soccer (because of the low cost), and the importance of the college structure (paid coaches, good players and facilities). School soccer is not ideal, but it does have its benefits. The entire system should not be oriented to only help those very few players who go pro.


    I also like your focus on the unnecessary travel to find competition; as you said, if the team is really good, let them play up a division.  They'll learn more (maybe even a litte humility) and it will save all that travel.  Lots of wisdom in this piece; it's almost like you've been covering this topic for a while and really put some thought into it!

  17. David Koebler, April 14, 2020 at 9:34 p.m.

    So I just read in another article that the plug was pulled? That DA's are no more? While in do not disagree with much of your article I have to say this change to US Youth soccer is going to be felt for many many years by many people. If ECNL picks up the slack and or USYSA provides these clubs a soft landing zone then the effects will be less sharp. On the other hand, DA's created a whole new ecosystem within US Youth Soccer. While not perfect, they provided the opportunity for coaches to earn a more quality salary, they offered clubs opportunity to grow due to prestige, they significantly helped the DIV 1 college recruiting process. We have to assume MLS will create their own league and pull players from debunked DA clubs. There where hundreds of teams, thousands of players. There isnt enough capacity in MLS programs for all those players. Teams will disband, coaches will loose income, players will be searching for homes. Then you relook at ODP a failed model of politics and exploitation. Sure small state associations that didnt have DAs wont experience anything different, but hubs like Philly, NY, NJ, Virginia, California, Texas, etc. Are going to seriously be affected by this. I'm wouldnt be the first person to say defend DAs, as they were not a perfect system, but at least they were better than what we had with ODP. And what about clubs who were pursuing being a DA. Raised money, invested, sought out funding or realigned their whole club, what now? ECNL? I'm not knocking the ECNL but we have an ECNL USL club in our city that randomly fields a strong enough team to compete in their league games. The reality is they are frequently at the bottom of the rankings but they are USL and get a pass. So these independent DAs are still going to have the ability to generate the needed revenue to train players at such a high level without the prestige of DA status to support them? This move just set back US Soccer ten years. 

  18. humble 1 replied, April 14, 2020 at 11:10 p.m.

    Most of the academy's now in DA will carry on. Financials will change, there will be a scramble.  MLS will have to dig into their pockets.  ODP will re-awaken.  This is all ok.  ECNL or USYS - that remains to be seen - both have models - probably ECNL is in the lead - but the race is on - the key is at the local level - don't go pulling the kids off into 'elite' leagues when they are 12 - and then have them travel 100s of miles for games.  When they are 14/15/16 fine - but leave the backdoor(s) open, don't shut out the potential late bloomers like DA was doing.  Coaches are important, and they are key - but they are part of the support team - and the mission is about the kids - using soccer to shape kids into adults.  This has to be the mission bc 99% of these kids will never play professional soccer and 99.9% will never play for the national team.  With surely more than 20% of soccer players playing outside the USSF sanctioned space in latino league and middle and high school - the DA never had the footprint of ODP and shut out a huge swath geography and players.  A renewed focus on ODP will be just fine - by it's definition - it has a bigger footprint - it is not just for the major metro's with MLS teams - and - it integrates with club play - it does not try to be the club.  ODP is the model that got us Demsey and Donovan and many of the great lady players - including - Cindy Parlow Cone.  So probably they pivot back to ODP, let the former DA clubs figure out if they want to fly solo or integrate to ECNL or USYS or other and either way - they have to fly on their own financialy.  Let's see what happens!  Stay well out there. 

  19. TJ Kostecky, April 14, 2020 at 10:25 p.m.

    All of your points are spot on and should be earnestly  considered Mike. Having covered this game for several decades, you have an expansive lens which includes coachinf and playing experience. During the next US soccer election cycle I would encourage you to consider running for office. Then you'll have a direct opportunity to impact the development of our game. The time is right for change!  

  20. R2 Dad, April 14, 2020 at 10:25 p.m.

    Men's college soccer is crap, but it doesn't have to be. USSF could allow college teams to play in the open cup in exchange for NCAA adopting those pending changes (FIFA LOTG instead of whatever janky nonsense they use now, implement dual seasons, see C-2019-90). Sorry if I'm hurting people's feelings, but if college soccer was so great we would be seeing hundreds of professional players every year flooding professional leagues after 4 fabulous, development-laden years on campus. We don't. At all. It's like development gets frozen in time, only for kids to defrost 4 years later.
    USSF shouldn't just dump DA, though--there is plenty they need to do to improve the quality of players. Maybe a small team of experienced heads combined with tech experts can imagine an online resource for improving the way US players think about the game and how to better move off the ball so when they start playing more street ball/futsal they'll learn to apply those tips while still young. I think USSF must assume the burden of improving the quality of players as MLS has shown no interest in doing that on their own (and no, I don't count the multiple levels of USL trapped in that silo of mediocrity).

  21. chris keenan, April 15, 2020 at 8:50 a.m.

    Really good article with logical ideas.  Inclusive versus exclusive is the way forward.  US Soccer is unique with its own sets of strengths and weaknesses.  Let the people in the trenches give feedback and stop the ideas coming from an ivory tower.

  22. Carlo Palazzese, April 15, 2020 at 9:56 a.m.

    Great article and comments. My thought is why not allow for a HS and College experience for those players that want that experience like Baseball and Hockey but also support and allow those players to play with clubs, MLS, USL etc... clubs but do not want an academic setting. 


    One of the areas that the NCAA struggles with is Basketball and Football players that have no interest in an academic environment. 


    Let's focus on the player and what the player wants.. offer an academic path with quality soccer or allow for a professional path via the various clubs and structures. Many of you have mentioned the "cost" of playing soccer and if we support HS and College soccer to improve a players life then we should strengthen that path but if a player and family want to follow a club and professional path and can afford that path then good for them. 

    In the end what I think we all want is to provide opportunities for our youth to have a better life and if soccer can provide that either via an academic path or a professional path then let's take advantage of this opportunity in time and reset both paths for the betterment of all and the game we love here in the USA!

  23. Mike Lynch, April 15, 2020 at 12:27 p.m.

    Boom. Another great article Mike. Outstanding state of youth soccer address. 

  24. Michael Saunders, April 15, 2020 at 3:06 p.m.

    Echoing what others have already said MIke:   Superb analysis.   My only wish is that you would share this through many media outlets. 


     


    Again Well done !!

  25. Phil Shortt, April 15, 2020 at 3:36 p.m.

    Good article Mike. I particularly enjoyed the comment "we've gone too far in trying to imitate countries with which we have so little in common -- while ignoring our own strengths." I hope US Soccer can recognize this opportunity to make the right changes. We need to unite all of our soccer cultures together as part of the answer to the puzzle.
    As a country, we need to build our soccer program for the combined benefit of our youth and the sport. If we focus on development and enjoyment, the talent will rise to the top rather than who can best afford to play. Player selection decisions can be made irrespective of the organization who will profit the most from the noteriety.
    There are many aspects that need adjustment - but we are Americans! We can do this. 

  26. Ben Myers, April 16, 2020 at 9:40 p.m.

    Can't get any worse than it's been.  Now, if only the various youth soccer power elites get some sense and follow the steps you've outlined, maybe the US youth soccer train wreck will get back on track.

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