How has your campaign been funded?
My campaign has crowd and private funding. Crowd funding has been done through my GoFundme page and private funding has been done through a mixture of friends, family and individual soccer fans. I have introduced a journalist to my private donors per their request so they have the opportunity to go on record about the reasons for their donation if they choose to. Campaign funds are solely used for Campaign costs. I am not taking a salary out of the donations. I created an LLC and have retained Day Pitney, an estate and tax planning firm, and an accountant to run all the accounting.
Who is your current employer? While campaigning, have you resigned or taken a leave of
I just began a multi-year contract with NBC but I signed a separate contract a week before my campaign began to freeze my NBC contract until Feb 10th. At the time of executing that contract, I stopped receiving an income and the language in the “freeze” contract ends my NBC contract effective Feb 10 should I be elected USSF president.
I took the above steps because I believe transparency is essential to restoring faith in our leadership and improving the health of the organization. Although it has come at personal financial cost, I truly believe the person who runs our Federation should make it his or her undivided focus to serve the membership in growing the game in the U.S.
Vision and Mission
The mission statement of the United States Soccer Federation is to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States. What does that mission statement mean to you?
Making soccer the preeminent sport in this county should not be the mission; it should be the primary result our mission. Our mission should be to grow a soccer culture. Focusing on grassroots/local communities is how you accomplish this goal. That approach establishes a strong bond between the Federation and its membership and prioritizes enjoyment and experience over profit and professionalization. That’s, of course, not saying profit and professionalization aren’t important but the disproportionate focus towards the top of the "pyramid” has stymied the overall growth of the game. We are basically trying to create a soccer culture using trickle-down economics. Just a quick glance at USSF operation budgets perfectly encapsulates this disparity: $3 million/year to Klinsmann versus $3 million over 10 years in financial aid for underprivileged players coming from the most underserved communities.
Interest in our sport continues to grow but we need to be honest about what factors contribute most to that progress and leverage them to our advantage, not ignore them. Much of what “moves the needle” is the natural inertia associated with soccer being the No. 1 sport in the
world and the increasing access to the international game available to the U.S. in the last decade. We are one of the most multicultural countries on the planet, so gravitational pull of the
world’s No. 1 sport is relentless. We also finally have a generation of soccer parents (i.e., adults who grew up with soccer as their main sport) raising kids in soccer households. These two
factors create a predisposition to embrace the beautiful game and are two of the most powerful market forces at play in creating demand for the game.
Now the question becomes: Are we adequately meeting that demand at all levels of the game? Again, if we are being honest, the products contributing the most to growing interest in our sport
are not made in America. International leagues and tournaments are consumed at higher levels than our domestic ones. The reasons for this are clear, and having the humility to admit this is true isn’t the same as saying we don’t have great professional leagues, because I truly believe that dollar-for-dollar we have the best in the world. Continuing to grow our professional leagues so we have a commensurate consumer product as well as a developmental ground to improve
our National Teams is essential. But it should not mean losing focus on the best ways to grow and improve our game at the recreational/non-elite levels.
What is your vision for what success looks like in 5 -10 years for the USSF to be able to claim it is successfully living out its mission statement? What strategic initiatives will you implement to achieve that vision, both for the overall organization and per program?
To be successful as a Federation over the next 5-10 years, we must start with the above self-awareness. Any autopsy of the men’s failure to qualify for Russia should not start with an assessment of coaches and players—that’s the end of the production line. To avoid future
failures with our National Teams, we must address the systemic issues that have failed to protect us from poor technical decisions that begin at the bottom of the pyramid and extend all the way to the top.
For me, the men’s failure in Trinidad & Tobago is an inflection point: it provides an unprecedented opportunity to modernize the Federation and elect a leader capable of growing a soccer culture. Our Federation needs a leader with the technical understanding to protect us from repeating past performance failures and a vision for a more a democratic and transparent
approach to leadership. We must have a leader capable of identifying and eliminating the perceived conflicts of interests, favoritism, and patronage that make U.S. Soccer into the fragmented landscape it is today. If we fail to elect such a person, we are in jeopardy of further entrenching these detrimental divisions.
The courage to stand up in this moment is essential but so too is the right strategy. We need a vision for change. I have that vision and it is detailed in my Progress Plan, which I will publish Jan. 15. The plan is the product of a two-day Summit in NYC where I invited 25 people from different soccer disciplines to convene and collaborate as well as several months’ worth of conversations with dozens of USSF member associations and other stakeholders.
ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT
If elected, how do you envision your role as President moving forward?
The President should first and foremost be the Chairmen of the Board as the bylaws outline. However. I believe the President has to be much more than that. It should be the fulltime job of the President to restore the membership’s faith in the Federation while simultaneously getting out in the marketplace to sell this sport to consumers. We need a President with the requisite credibility and presence to become a media force, driving U.S. interest in the greatest sport on
In other words, we don’t just need a Chairmen of the Board; we need someone with a soccer vision. We need and deserve a President with the technical knowledge necessary to reverse the harm caused by the shortage of soccer expertise in the current leadership. That is not my opinion alone; it is the opinion of the majority of the voting and nonvoting members of our soccer community and Feb 10 is their chance to make that clear.
What should your key roles and responsibilities be for the position and how do you describe success for the President for US Soccer?
The President, as the highest ranking elected official, should also ensure that the structure of the organization’s business and technical departments operates in an efficient and transparent
way to serve the interest of the entire membership. The unifying interest of the membership is to see our sport thrive, but recent leadership has lost touch with the largest part of our membership by focusing too much on a narrower group of stakeholders.
I am very concerned by the recent efforts of the Board to restructure the organization and role of the President without the new leadership they admit we need. The Board has had many opportunities to do this in the past, so the timing of this attempt feels inappropriate. Look across the business and non-profit worlds: Great organizations are not led by boards, they are led by individuals with drive, determination, and, most importantly, vision.
It’s clear the Board has been kept in the dark on several important decisions, a fact pointed out to me recently by a long-serving member of the Board when he told me “we fell asleep at the
wheel.” That fact is further confirmed when the Board needed to call a special meeting to find out how coaches were hired in the past.
This reality is incredibly disconcerting especially when you consider that some of us on the “outside” have known for many years that coaching hires, fires and extensions were made unilaterally by people not qualified to make these decisions. Even qualified people should not govern in this way. To ensure this, I will hire a technical advisor and have a technical committee called a Captains Council, filled by the best our nation has to offer in terms of deep experience
and understanding of the game, to help make these critical decisions. We have a lot of work to do to correct these mistakes but the encouraging part is that there are
many capable people, like you all, ready and willing to help. All that is missing is a President ready to empower and delegate. Now is not the time for the membership, staff and consumers
to know the President less, now is the time to feel the constant support of that person permeate the soccer community. That is only possible if we elect someone with the presence, credibility and characteristics to speak for and lead US Soccer.
Do you feel that this should be a paid position? Please explain your reasoning.
For the reasons I just discussed, the President role should be a paid position. Given our sports landscape, growing the game in this country is arguably harder than in any other, so thinking
that’s a part-time job is naïve. We need this person working tirelessly and exclusively to grow this game. That’s why I have already quit my dream job to focus entirely on this one.
This is not about money. This is about accountability, transparency and quality. It’s easy to say every major Soccer Nation pays their Federation President, but it’s important to understand
why. Offering an executive salary for such an important position increases accountability, commitment, and competition. A salary attracts capable people ready to commit to a full time
position. It also creates accountability because every term you will face stiff competition to keep your role. The result is a true meritocracy.
Having an unchallenged election is not a good thing. It’s actually how things happen in corrupt countries or organizations. One main reason prospective candidates haven’t come forward in the past is because they can’t afford it. Almost every candidate in this race is still working at their real job while they run, and many have said that they’d continue to need to do so once accepting the role. I have spoken publicly about this previously and have been criticized by
people saying I’m seeking this change for personal gain. This is not about self-interest, quite the opposite: I’m lobbying for something that will lessen the job security of the President and keep
whomever fills that role in it based on performance and nothing else.
The membership has been trying to make the Presidency a paid position for two decades but the topic is continually shut down by a few highly-compensated people. Many of the membership have helped grow this game as volunteers and want to be repaid by a President
who serves THEM. The majority of the members want this to happen, and it’s only a matter of time. As we delay, the opportunity cost is clear and will become clearer when we watch a World
Cup this summer without a US team.
Many people have been calling for more transparency from US Soccer, what specific ways do you see in providing this?
What follows are some of the draft proposals from my Progress Plan specifically relating to either new or continuing policies on transparency and governance, which are critical
issues for USSF.
1. Hire Independent Firm to conduct and publish audit on USSF to analyze how the
Federation is currently allocating resources and personnel to execute on its goals.
Specifically, the audit will:
1. Help define decision/execution flow chart
2. Confirm the existence of appropriate and effective executive checks and balances
3. Best practices comparison to other 501c3 organizations/USOC/International
Federations, to the extent possible drawing on findings from the recent McKinsey study on governance which to my knowledge has not been shared with the membership
4. Analyze spending over the last 5 years
5. Analyze realized ROI over last 5 years
6. Examine all active and pending sponsorships/deals/endorsements (i.e., SUM, NIKE, Coca Cola and other official sponsors)
2. Make the USSF President a paid position by repealing Bylaw 401, Section 1C
1. Professionalizing the role will:
i. Increase quality and quantity of candidates
ii. Improve member services by making the Federation a full time priority
iii. Create accountability and transparency currently lacking in the role
iv. Improve merit based reelection
3. Technical Decisions
i. Hire Technical Director
ii. Create Captains Council: a diverse group with technical expertise from each level to help make holistic soccer suggestions and advise on technical decisions (Former players, coaches, trainers)
iii. Review contracts and hiring process for last 3 Men’s & Women’s NT
iv. Empower the technical staff and integrate associations through DOC’s &
4. Hire Grassroots Director & Chief Diversity Officer
5. Create a Domestic Resolution Committee. (DRC)
1. Full time staff that rules over special dispensation, waivers, disputes &
solidarity/training reimbursement fees
i. Election Reform
1. Make nominations and voting public
6. Bylaw Reform and policy suggestions
1. Remove language exempting constituents & affiliates from being included in US
Soccer Conflict Of Interest Policy
2. Every Dime, Online, in Real Time: Income and expenditures must be posted
online as soon as the records are available and verified. Checkbook register
3. Contracts: All contracts between USSF and 3rd party vendors over $100K posted online
4. Bidding: Open bidding process and online disclosure of all bids on contracts
exceeding $100k online
5. Executive Transparency: Statement of economic interests & tax returns for USSF President, senior executives, and board members posted online
6. Compensation: Salary and benefit packages for all USSF employees (exceeding $75K), professional coaches, scouts, and players posted online annually
7. Mandatory Gift Disclosure/Ban: All senior staff with contract decision-making authorities and board members must disclose all gifts in excess of $50 from any party online. All gifts, which may create a conflict of interest, are prohibited
8. Ticket Transparency: Institute either clear merit-based or randomized process for offering team access, field access, seats, etc. to members and member
organization for USMNT and USWNT matches.
9. Regular Press Availability: Minimum of bi-monthly public press conferences by USSF President, Men’s and Women’s team coaches and technical directors
10. Ticket Pricing Transparency: Disclosure of all USSF ticket sales, revenue and pricing policies to the general public, fan clubs, resellers, and disclosure of any tickets gifted to any party. A ban on the resale of tickets gifted to USSF employees and board members
11. Lobbying Disclosure: Online transparency of any lobbying activities or lobbying contracts of state and local government officials or other international soccer federations
12. Annual Transparency: Budgets, audits, and tax disclosures posted online after board approval
13. Partner Entity Transparency: Full transparency of partner entities, such as
"United Bid Committee" for 2026 World Cup
The USMNT’s CBA will be renegotiated in 2018 and the USWNT’s CBA will be
renegotiated in 2021. What will be your philosophy and approach to the
negotiations? What experience do you have that would help you in CBA
I have spoken to Players Union heads and reps and am investigating the potential of creating a unified Players Union that negotiates for all National Teams. I believe a unified advocate and
negotiator increases the likelihood of labor condition equality. I have plenty of experience negotiating: I did my own LA Galaxy deal as a player and now am involved in negotiations with my role on Ownership Group of Real Mallorca.
What is the relationship between US Soccer and Soccer United Marketing and how does it affect the players?
Beyond a surface level, even most people closely associated with the game in the US have no
idea of the deep relationship between US Soccer and SUM. One of the only public places to educate yourself on the relationship is by reading SUM’s Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soccer_United_Marketing. (It is fair to point out the neutrality of the
content has been challenged and of course Wikipedia is not fact.)
From what I’ve been able to deduce by speaking to one of SUM’s founders and asking some of SUM’s clients, MLS and US Soccer created SUM to offer English-speaking broadcasts of World Cups in the US. The purpose and operations of SUM have evolved greatly from its inception, as has its profitability. US Soccer and MLS leaders one time sat on SUM board with an equity stake in the company, which could still be the case. I hope that as the campaign progresses my
fellow candidate Kathy Carter will help make these relationships clear to the members and the soccer community. US Soccer’s conflict of interest policy excludes SUM, which makes it
possible for a SUM employee to be President of US Soccer or a US Soccer employee to be paid by SUM. Ethics authorities have told me that this arrangement is the reason conflict of
interest policies exist. The contract SUM has with US Soccer has never been bid out and the specifics of the deal have never been made public. All we know is the contract expires in 2022.
To be clear, I am not accusing anyone of unethical behavior as I don’t have a complete understanding of the relationships involved. I have a lot of respect for the leadership of SUM,
MLS, & US Soccer and their contributions to the game in this country. But the reality is that these perceived conflict of interests are a liability to US Soccer to which the current leadership seems blind. Too often, reasonable questions about the relationship are met with dismissive
responses along the lines of, “You should be thanking us.” That approach does not serve the interests of the broader US Soccer membership and I believe is a threat to the harmony of our
Federation going forward.
There are many perceived conflicts of interest but a clear way the arrangement affects the players was the decision to have a World Cup Qualifier at Red Bull Arena against Costa Rica. Home World Cup Qualifiers are crucial, which is why home teams go to great lengths to tip the
competitive advantage in their favor. Even the length of the grass is meticulously planned. Having played Costa Rica in a WCQ at old Saprissa Stadium I can tell you this from personal
experience, it was terrifying.
SUM is the marketing partner for CONCACAF so it made a business decision, without consulting the coach of the National Team, to prioritize profit, which gave our competition an
advantage by hosting a game in a location that would produce the highest turnout of their fans. Bryan Ruiz spoke in an interview after the game about how enjoyable it was to play in front of so
many of their fans saying “we felt very, very comfortable.” This decision contributed to the US failing to qualify for the World Cup in Russia, costing our Federation tens of millions of dollars in
lost revenue. It’s a decision that never would have been made without this conflict of interest.
What experience do you have that has adequately prepared you to lead an
organization of this size (more than 150 employees) and a budget in excess of 100 million dollars? Where specifically would the budget surplus be best spent and how will you measure the success of those investments?
I have many business experiences that have prepared me to succeed at this job. I worked on an executive team at Lenox Advisors managing multimillion dollar accounts and signing billion
dollar clients. I spearheaded the team that signed Pfizer as a corporate client, an accomplishment one of the partners of Lenox mentioned in their endorsement letter for me. It can be found on my site www.everyonesgameusa.com.
I also am part of the Ownership Group for Real Mallorca. My role and experience there is also highlighted in the letter of endorsement they wrote for me, which is also available on my site.
Mallorca is a century old club with great tradition and I am charged with helping restore their pedigree by bringing them back up to La Liga. I’m involved in all financial, technical and strategic decisions we make as an Ownership Group.
PLAYER AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
What should US Soccer’s role be in player development? What governance
structure(s) would you create to improve player development across all programs?
US Soccer has a responsibility to develop players. This is accomplished best by defining, supporting and regulating the developmental path towards elite soccer. This path will contribute to one of the Federations goals: to one day have our other National Teams join our women as
World Cup winners. However this goal should not be the priority; the priority of the Federation should be to grow and serve the membership. The only development we should prioritize is the
development of a soccer culture. A soccer culture is what creates a soccer nation and this development is done at the local, grassroots level.
How do you address the problem of soccer being a “pay to play” type of system that we now have? What specific plans do you have to increase participation and make soccer less expensive and more inclusive?
Our fixation with development and mimicking great soccer countries has been incredibly detrimental to the development of a soccer culture. We have made strides towards improving
player development by strengthening a section of our elite youth level, but it has come at a great cost…literally. All of our efforts to professionalize youth training have made an already expensive game even more expensive. Take the creation of the Development Academies for
instance: close to 20% of these academies are free due to their MLS affiliation but the other 80% have made participation more expensive. The prestige of being in the academy has
increased the premium but most of the cost increase comes from the additional travel required of DA clubs.
The professionalization of the youth game is not itself the problem--it’s that it is being done at younger and younger ages where the focus should not be on winning but enjoying a game. Having a meritocracy based on results at these younger levels creates pressurized
environments that suck the fun out of the game. As one of my idols Mia Hamm told me “There is an epidemic Kyle, the kids aren’t having fun,” and the enemy is us. One talented and experienced youth director joked to me recently that “the A licensed coaches are going to have
to learn how to change diapers.”
The result of the increased cost and stressful environment is measurable. The Aspen Institute recently published reports showing the participation in our sport is down 24%. That’s to go with the fact 50% of kids leave the sport before the age of 10.
The other consequence of the high cost is the further disenfranchisement of underserved communities. We are pricing out the underprivileged where in the rest of the world this demographic is the best supported because it delivers the most talent. We have not done nearly enough in these communities, with our massive surplus and strategic partnerships, to increase access to the game though subsidizing fees and building facilities. This is the development we should be fixated on. We do this through architecture & design focused on health, wellness and opportunity. Before we develop great players, US Soccer should be interested in developing great people. That will create an affinity and attachment to the crest that doesn’t currently exist.
Cost is one thing but access is another. We need to supplement the great efforts of Ed Foster- Simeon and the US Soccer Foundation to improve access to our game. Their Everyone’s Game
initiative is a great start but we can do a lot more. For instance, I have, together with Steve Nash and Mia Hamm, come up with a low-cost high-impact program called Over/Under to build dual
sport courts in inner-cities. I’ve attached the program deck at the end of this questionnaire to give you just one example of the kind of thinking I believe is needed.
Once we re-calibrate our priorities, the improved soccer culture will offer a larger and more diverse pool of athletes. That is when we will start to see a substantial ROI on our player development initiatives. A bigger pool taken through better training means we improve the
quality of the product. Now with that improved product we compound the progress of the game as a result of the millions of non-elite players consuming the product and staying active
(coaching, reffing, managing, playing) members of US Soccer.
The governance structures I would create to improve youth development would be to hire a Technical Director and assemble a “Captains Council” of technical advisors from all levels and disciplines. Many of the development errors we have made in the past would never had passed the quality control test this council will provide. It will also provide a valuable brain trust constantly monitoring progress and discussing best practices from the 55 associations as well as international programs. That is why I have asked people like Thierry Henry to offer their
knowledge, experience and network.
What are your plans to lead all of the various youth soccer organizations so player development is the priority?
Managing the youth soccer organizations will be a challenge due the tribal community we have created through market confusion and competition. This infighting has metastasized largely
through The Federation’s mismanagement. Not only has the Federation created competition in
this space by not designing clear market standards, but at times the Federation has actually competed with its own members.
My plan to lead these organizations has already begun: First we must demonstrate a desire to lead, next we must reestablish trust in that leadership, and then we can empower and enlist
these groups to help us make technical decisions that affect our members. There is an appetite among the youth organizations to work together towards a common goal. US Youth, US Club,
AYSO & SAY are already having quarterly meetings in an attempt to eradicate the rivalries that
threaten the prosperity of all. These meeting offer great suggestions and progressive ideas yet without the commitment of the Federation to facilitate and execute, momentum is lost and
pessimism grows. Here are a few points from my plan to improve this space:
● Empower our State Associations
o Attend and support the quarterly meetings already taking place between USYouth Soccer, US Club Soccer, AYSO & SAY
o At least one meeting a year must have President, CEO & Technical Director all Present
o TD must attend every meeting in person or by Video/Voice conferencing.
● A comprehensive review all mandates and repeal, if necessary, those detrimental to local organizations
● Create a best practices & collaboration agreement between USYSA, AYSO, SAY, USCS
o Agree on mutually beneficial antitrust restrictions
o Create escalating fine structure for breach of agreement (Judged on by Domestic Resolution Committee I will create)
o Institute market entry requirements for the creation of new youth entities.
What other Federations have you researched that we can we learn from in terms of creating the best environments possible for the players to develop?
I have already spoken to FAs and former players from England, Spain and France. I have also gotten firm commitments from former England and France National Team Players who have played in the US and are familiar with our soccer landscape.
What are your specific plans for the Beach Soccer, Futsal, and Paralympic National Teams?
I think Futsal is essential to the growth of the game in this country. My favorite players growing up were South American because I was mesmerized by their control of the ball and style. Most
of that was due to their Futsal background. Riquelme was one of my idols and his use of the sole of his foot was actually counter to what I was being taught when I was young. Good thing I
watched him play for Boca a bunch to learn. Futsal not only improves development of players but also access. It's the smallest field you need and because it's mostly indoors in can be
played year round. The other good part is the fields are already there, almost every school in the country has a gym. This is one great way to improve access for the underprivileged. I will have more detail on Futsal as well as Beach Soccer forthcoming in the Progress Plan.
We need to continue to support our Paralympians. The average age of retirement is 24, right in their prime. This is because they are forced to other find full time jobs even though they represent our country proudly. Our US team is fifth in the world right now but it hasn't been until recently that they even received per diem. We also only just recently hired a full time coach in Stuart Sharp. US Soccer needs to pay salaries these players can live on so they are not forced
to lose their dream. We also need to create a seeing-impaired National Team. If you are not familiar with these players I suggest you Youtube them – they are incredible. I have yet to see a
game live but I have been told by a former Paralympian that the amazing highlights don't nearly do the game justice.
For decades, due to Title IX and pioneers of the game, the Women’s National Team
has had an abundance of success. What are concrete ways that you would look to
advance the women’s game in the United States so the success continues for years
to come? Also, please address the state of the NWSL.
I have spoken to current and former Women’s National Team players and they are upset that we use their success to paper over cracks and ignore their warnings the women’s game is
declining. The underperformance of the youth teams is a foreshadowing of troubles ahead. The clear first step is to create gender equality. Our men and women should be compensated
equally for representing their country on the field of play. They should also have access to the same “field of play.” Any competitive advantage offered to the men should be offered to our women.
We also have to increase the salary of the Women’s National Team coaching staff. The men’s assistant coach earning more than the women’s coach is an embarrassment. We once led by
example in women’s sports but we allowed ourselves to get complacent. Many of the best coaches in the Women’s game have college jobs they would never leave because of the
financial sacrifice they would have to make to have the honor of coaching at the highest level. I would aim to come back to the table and renegotiate the recently agreed CBA. I would also
investigate the possibility of one players union for all National Teams. If you were the crest and represent our country in International competition you are a National Team player without
The health of the NWSL game is essential to prolonging elite players' careers. College cannot be the last elite level for our female athletes and we can't have their only professional option be
playing abroad. We need MLS, US Soccer and other corporate/media partners to commit to funding the growth of the league long-term. MLS had similar problems in the early 2000s and
were it not for a few owners and a media partner the league would have collapsed. Investment in players’ salaries and stadia is essential for the health of the NWSL. We should also better incentivize MLS teams to have NWSL affiliates.
SUPPORT OF NATIONAL TEAMS
Working weekends makes it tough but:
During 2017, how many MNT games did you attend?
During 2017, how many men's professional league games did you attend?
During 2017, how many WNT games did you attend?
During 2017, how many NWSL games did you attend?
During 2017, how many streaming broadcasts of the Paralympic National Team World
Championships in Argentina did you watch?
During 2017, how many streaming broadcasts of the Beach National Team did you watch
(CONCACAF Championship or other)?