U.S. Soccer's National Council approves sweeping changes to governance structure

U.S. Soccer's membership approved sweeping changes in its governance structure to comply with new federal laws related to the representation of athletes on national governing bodies.

The governance changes were drawn up by a task force formed earlier in the year and required an Extraordinary National Council Meeting for approval by the membership. Saturday's meeting was held on site in Chicago, though about three-quarters of members participated virtually.

Extraordinary National Council Meeting: 2021 amendments

The amendments included changes related to the voting structure of the National Council and composition of the board of directors in order to comply with the requirement that one-third of sports bodies are athletes (up from 20 percent).

New National Council voting shares:

Athletes 33.3% (+13.3%)
Adult 20% (-5%)
Youth 20% (-5%)
Pros 20% (-5%)
Other 6.7% (+1.7%)

New board of directors:

1 President
1 Vice President
2 Adults
4 *Youth (+2)
3 *Pros (+1)
7 Athletes (+4)
1 At-Large
21 Total (+6)
*One Youth member and one Pro member alternating as voting and non-voting member through March 2023 National Council Meeting.

The new voting shares were approved by a vote of 92%-8%. The new board was approved by a vote of 97%-3% as part of a package of amendments that related to such governance issues as round-by-round balloting in elections and the backgrounds of athletes serving on the board.

The Amateur Sports Act was first passed in 1978 and is better known as the Ted Stevens Act. In 2020, changes to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and all national governing bodies were approved by Congress in response to the sexual abuse scandal within USA Gymnastics involving former national team doctor Larry Nassar.
7 comments about "U.S. Soccer's National Council approves sweeping changes to governance structure".
  1. frank schoon, October 24, 2021 at 9:23 a.m.

    One-third, it should be 51%, PERIOD. The athletes are the ones sticking their necks out on the field and therefore should have a better say on things...

  2. Inter 76 replied, October 25, 2021 at 1:13 p.m.

    Yep, totally agree. Much less political stuff to put up with and a heckuva lot more actual experience to help decision making. With the athletes it would all be about the players. With the others for nany it is just prestige. Another CV item for their personal gain. 

  3. Patrick Cromer replied, October 25, 2021 at 4:06 p.m.

    U.S. Soccer is a broad reaching member organization. They count recreational children (starting at age 3) all the way to our full national teams as members, plus other groups like U.S. Armed forces, supporters groups etc. Further, U.S. Soccer deals with much more complex issues than those that specifically relate to the top men and women representing our country. Increasing participation numbers, risk management, parnerships, grants, parlimentary proceedure all come to mind. I am not debating your 51% allotment as much as I am pointing out the overwhelming majority of who they represent (members) are youth participants and the day to day decisions do not typically revolve around top athletes.

  4. frank schoon replied, October 26, 2021 at 9:04 a.m.

    Patrick, good point but these athletes were young once too and therefore are no strangers and are able to identify and understand problems of youth....I find it kind of short-sighted to think top athletes who themselves went through the youth stages of this sport wouldn't understand....

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, October 28, 2021 at 12:31 a.m.

    Patrick, there is a difference in being a member, being represented by someone, and being an actual amateur athlete. In order to be the regulating body for amateur soccer, certain specific conditions must be met. USSF has never met those conditions.

    As for your idea about its members, I played about 800 organized amateur adult matches before I played in my first sanctioned USSF match at age 62. My experience is not an exception. 

  6. humble 1, October 25, 2021 at 11:10 p.m.

    I'm with Frank give 51% to the athletes.  But also for sure this is being done very reluctantly.  If there is anything certain about youth soccer, it is that youth have no one representing them.  The so-called 'youth' component here is adult run, pay-to-play clubs that cater to youth.  Though many of these are run at 501c3 nonprofits, many of them are also opaque organizations that have little or no parent/family involvment or outside oversight. These clubs pay the fees that are the life blood of leagues and registration organizations that supposely oversee the clubs. Look no further than the state of coach and referee licencing as evidence that the youth are the last in line in the soccer feeding trough.  Almost everyone uses their name. All that being said, the impact of this change will be felt.  Athletes will now be the clear big dogs in the USSF Presidentail Elections.  We already have an athlete running things for the first time and hopefully things will get better.  Thank you SA!

  7. frank schoon replied, October 26, 2021 at 9:05 a.m.

    Humble , read my response to Patrick

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