Paul Caligiuri

CAMPAIGN INFORMATION


How has your campaign been funded? 


As a sign of my earnest commitment to US Soccer, I have funded my campaign personally and relied upon the support of friends and colleagues for counsel and input. Under my leadership, U.S. Soccer will be ethically-centered and set an example to national organizations across FIFA. 


For several years, I have become increasingly concerned about the divergent priorities within U.S. Soccer and the need to build an overall national team program that produces what all Americans want – men’s and women’s national teams that win consistently and represent the values and competitive spirit of all Americans. I am running for President because I am uniquely qualified to lead and be part of a larger effort to deliver that vision and to elevate all aspects of the game of soccer in America. 



Who is your current employer? While campaigning, have you resigned or taken a leave of absence (if necessary)? 


I am currently an Area Director for the Pateadores Soccer Club, head coach for the Girls 2001 team, and the Manager and coach for a semi-professional soccer club – the Orange County Football Club (NPSL and UPSL). 


I am a paid employee of the team and I will remain committed in this role through the duration of the campaign. 


I believe my current role has not only provided me with sport-specific management and operations experience and tools required for the USSF role but it has also given me real-world insights into the on-the-ground experiences of local and regional club managers, associations, parents and players. I witness, firsthand, how USSF policies and procedures impact the people we should care about the most: the players. 


VISSION 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? 


At the end of the day, it’s really about fielding a U.S. team, men’s and women’s, which will be competitive on the world stage. If U.S. Soccer is in a position to showcase the kind of talent which currently exists on pitches around the U.S. – amateur, semi-professional and professional – I have no doubt that soccer will become the preeminent sport in the Nation. It will happen.



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? 


Day-to-day, I witness, firsthand, the complex – oftentimes convoluted – system we call U.S. Soccer. It doesn’t make sense to dwell on what got us here, I’d much rather look forward. 

We have to do three things and we must do them well. First, we have to bring as many players into the USSF fold as humanly possible. We’re are keeping talented players OFF the field – we’re excluding millions of US-based players and we’re not maximizing our player development efforts. 


Second, we’ve got to provide parity for women who play the sport. Our women’s team has delivered wins for the US, over and over and over, yet still don’t hold parity in most elements of the sport. Salaries should be equal, for sure. But it goes beyond salaries. I am committed to working as hard as I can to secure broader TV coverage and sponsorships along with a first-of-it’s-kind equitable revenue-sharing plan – these elements bring financial stability and generate funding for higher salaries. 


Third, I envision a USSF which operates with transparency and the highest of standards. We’ve generated consistent revenues, mostly due to U.S. participation in and hosting of World Cups, but we should continue to operate the business in a clear and transparent manner. 


My vision is simple: we create an organization which focuses on players and the player pool. That leads to winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, winning the FIFA World Cup in 2022 (Men’s) and – with hard work and planning – we host the FIFA World Cups – Men’s in 2026; Women’s in 2027. And it generates more interest in the sport on the part of U.S. fans. I don’t believe we get there with a business-as-usual, status-quo approach. We need fresh ideas, new strategies and new-but-experienced voices in order to accomplish something new. The US will not miss another World Cup on Paul Caligiuri’s watch. Instead, we will set our minds to becoming the best in the World! 


ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT


If elected, how do you envision your role as President moving forward? 


I believe the role is to lead and unify the effort of bringing out the best programming we have to offer across all segments of U.S. Soccer. This role is the embodiment of every discipline of US soccer, including men’s, women’s, youth, beach soccer, futsal and Paralympic teams. 


If we really want the game to reflect the diversity and depth of the talent pool here in the U.S., I believe my role would be to ‘walk the talk’ and demonstrate a commitment to professionalism and inclusiveness in every aspect of the role – from the team of professionals we hire to the contractors we work with to the recruitment of next-generation leaders of the organization. 


It probably goes without saying that being elected USSF President would be an incredible honor for me. Service runs deep in my family – service to country, to community and to sport. This isn’t an ego-driven task for me. I genuinely believe there is vast greatness in our country and truly untapped potential in U.S. Soccer. 


I am committed to challenging the status-quo and pushing myself and the USSF team to go beyond limits anyone would set for the United States or U.S. Soccer. 


What should your key roles and responsibilities be for the position and how do you describe success for the President for US Soccer? 


The job of the President is to lead and unify U.S. Soccer into an organization that elevates U.S. Soccer in the United States and produces a consistently winning product on the field, representing the best of America’s values and competitive spirit. Execution would include six 

key responsibilities: 


• Presiding over all meetings of the National Council and the Board of Directors; 

• Serving as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors; 

• Appointing all committees as required by the Bylaws of U.S. Soccer; 

• Serving as an ex officio member of each of those committees; 

• Providing an annual report on U.S. Soccer at least 30 days prior to the annual meeting of the National Council; and 

• Representing U.S. Soccer as the official representative of the Federation in FIFA, CONCACAF and other international organizations. 


I describe success in a couple of ways: first, we leave no talent off the field. We recruit and develop every single talented young man or young woman, boy or girl, who wants to play the sport. If we’re successful doing that, there is no question that we have a pool of players qualified for and capable of competing on the global stage. Those elements will drive interest, drive support, drive ratings, drive sponsorships and move U.S. Soccer into the preeminent role we’re tasked with achieving, according to our mission. 


Do you feel that this should be a paid position? Please explain your reasoning. 


I did not choose to run for USSF President with compensation in mind. That said, I don’t believe we should limit ourselves to a set of leaders who ‘don’t need the income.’ USSF’s leadership should reflect the diversity and talent of our organization, from the ground up. I believe we should elect the best person for the job. I would leave the decision around compensation to the Board of Directors of U.S. Soccer. 


I will approach the position as a full-time job with a view toward resigning from all my current commitments. 


GOVERNANCE


Many people have been calling for more transparency from US Soccer, what specific ways do you see in providing this? 


The call for transparency is typically a call for clarity around where and how and with whom our resources are spent. 


Generally speaking, transparency means shining a bright light on business operations and transactions. It means making sure no one person or entity profits unfairly from policies or decisions. It means an open and competitive bidding process for tools and resources needed. It means providing players and parents and associations with a clear accounting of where and how money is spent. 


It also means providing sound and reasonable justification to the entire organization when key decisions are made – primarily to be sure that no “special interest” is in play. Here are a few specific examples where one might question the transparency, or lack thereof, on the part of the USSF leadership: 


Appointment of a General Manager: Many have questioned the timing and rationale for the hasty decision to appoint a General Manager, just weeks before the presidential election. There is chorus of voices calling for this action to be tabled until a new President is elected. I was the first candidate to call attention to this development. 


See my letter to U.S. Soccer at the following link: http://goalnation.com/paul-caligiuris-open-letter-us-soccer-no-general-manager-now/ 


The appearance of favoritism on the part of USSF Board members: See article at the following link: 

https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/12/22/kathy-carter-us-soccer-election-president-sunil-gulati-don-garber 


See also concerns voiced by the NASL: http://www.nasl.com/news/2017/12/28/nasl-sends-letter-to-us-soccer 

 

See also my letter on the topic of voting fairness and transparency: http://goalnation.com/paul-caligiuris-open-letter-to-us-soccer-on-unequal-voting-between-men-and-women/ 


The integrity of our election process and the transparency of our operations are directly connected to USSF’s mission – if we wish for soccer to become the preeminent sport in this country, it is critical that USSF operate in a way which builds trust with all of our constituents and stakeholders. 


As President, I will guide the organization's decisions and policies on the disclosure of information to all member organizations. We will conduct ourselves on a value system that will make all of America proud. It is a top priority to align U.S. Soccer with the member organizations so we can work hard to do our best to become the best in the World. 


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 negotiations? 


In 1993, I saw the need for better treatment of players and launched what is known today as the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association. Also, as a representative on the U.S. Soccer Athletes Council, I spearheaded the equal gender policy for committee chairs. As a former player, I believe I would bring a heightened awareness to negotiations and a sensitivity around issues our women players face – i.e., financial support for players who are pregnant or have adopted children. 


My approach is simple: fairness should be an expectation on both sides of the bargaining table. I believe I possess the temperament and sensibilities to manage this process in an equitable way. 


What specific actions will you take to improve gender representation and pay disparity at US Soccer? Please address the difference in salaries of the USWNT and USMNT teams. 


For the last two decades, the USWNT has either dominated or remained a leading contender in international soccer. We won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup on top of wins in 1991 and 1999. In fact, it is remarkable that the women have never landed below third place in the tournament’s history! They have also medaled in every Olympics since 1996 until losing in a penalty shoot out two years ago in the quarterfinals. 


Salaries should be equal. Period. I would not wait until the CBA is renegotiated (in 2021) to address this issue. If elected, I would immediately create a 2027 Bid Committee for Women’s World Cup. I would focus on aligning the NWSL the WPSL and UWS and ensuring they are guaranteed financial support from US Soccer. I’d propose launching a Futsal league for women and to lobby FIFA to start an Official FIFA Women’s Futsal World Cup. I am committed to working as hard as I can to secure broader TV coverage and sponsorships along with a first-of-its-kind, equitable revenue-sharing plan – these elements bring financial stability and generate funding for higher salaries. There’s great opportunity for our women players and we should do all that we can to support their global leadership, both on and off the field. 


What is the relationship between US Soccer and Soccer United Marketing and how does it affect the players? 


U.S. Soccer is a not-for-profit entity. It is important to understand that because it has a tax-free status like many sports associations. U.S. Soccer is the umbrella organization that governs the sport of men’s and women’s soccer in America, including youth, beach soccer, futsal, and our national team programs, including Paralympic teams. 


In contrast, Major League Soccer is a for-profit professional men’s league that U.S. Soccer sanctions, and Soccer United Marketing or “SUM” is the MLS’s for-profit marketing arm. While the interests of these entities are intricately related, each has a role to play which serves USSF’s mission of driving interest in, support and ratings in the sport. 


To the extent each of these entities can support my goal of broadening and deepening the pool of talented players on the field, I applaud and support their success. If we grow the pool of great amateur players, it stands to reason that we’ll increase the number of talented professional players to join MLS, NWSL and the other high level league ranks. That means television revenue grows, kit and stadium sponsorships grow and our MLS teams (most of whom do not operate in the black) become profitable…all ships rise together. 


But it all begins with knowing what our product is: the player. That’s where the investment has to begin. 


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? 


What most human resources professionals will tell you is that being successful at any job comes down to your collective set of experiences. 


Like each of you on the Athlete’s Council, I have played the sport at the highest level. I received my undergraduate degree from UCLA, and I have served U.S. Soccer in various governance and coaching roles: 


1. Played in the MLS and German Bundesliga 

2. Played for the U.S. Men’s National Team 

3. Served on the U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors 

4. Served on the U.S. Soccer’s Athlete’s Council 

5. Coached at the men’s and women’s college soccer university level 

6. Coached club soccer and in the NPSL and UPSL 


I’ve led teams and organizations and I’ve managed operations at all stages of amateur and semi-professional soccer, including: 


Currently Managing, semi-pro team 

OCFC College coach (men and women); youth coach and director for girls and boys Member, U.S. Soccer Board of Directors (2 years) 

Member, U.S. Soccer Athlete’s Council 

Founder, U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association 


Two of the four most recent Presidents of FIFA were former athletes. Being a former athlete is not a handicap, but an asset. 


Everything I have accomplished in my life has prepared me to lead U.S Soccer as its President, and I believe I am the most qualified candidate. 


PROGRAM AND PLAYER 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? 


Our U.S. Development Academy has increased, not lessened, the cost to play soccer in the US. We need a system in place which helps U.S. Soccer to identify and nurture talent at the local level and vastly expand the pool of players. (Average cost for players has increased to $5,500 annually) 


The U.S. Development Academy must be placed under the Olympic Development Program, with exemption to the MLS and NWSL Academies. This raises the competitive level. It creates a better pathway for players to the MLS and NWSL. It keeps the competition more localized while creating a gateway for U.S. Soccer to enter into untapped multicultural communities. It broadens the player base. It eliminates direct competition with U.S. Youth Soccer or U.S. Club Soccer for player registrations. It also localizes soccer and decreases travel costs, which keeps so many qualified, talented players out of our system. 


What are your plans to lead all of the various youth soccer organizations so player development is the priority? 


Arguably, the issue here is inclusiveness, even more so than simply increasing participation. 


In late December of 2017, FIFA data showed Germany ranked first in the world with the most registered soccer players, topping 6.3 million, followed by the U.S. ranking second in the world with just over 4 million. The costs associated with playing soccer limits our ability to be anywhere near as inclusive as we’re capable of. Today, many players from lower income and in some cases minority and immigrant communities are being priced out of playing the game. As a resident of and coach in Southern California, I witness this trend every day. 


U.S. Soccer has a role to play and a variety of different solutions are required. Many clubs and academies add unnecessary costs when they chose to travel and/or join leagues outside their immediate communities. 


The U.S. Development Academy must be placed under the Olympic Development Program. This raises the competitive level. It keeps the competition more localized while creating a gateway for US Soccer to enter into untapped multicultural communities. This will not be easy to fix, but including other avenues like high school and Olympic Development Program are part of the answer. We have to be willing to create programs for the economically disadvantaged. As soccer grows in popularity in the US, our obligation to be more inclusive is all the more important. 


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 researched and tracked several other Federations for many years. During my years as a U.S. Soccer Board of Director, we began looking more closely into what other countries were doing in terms of player development. As of recent, I have been engaged with many more Federations, such as, German Football Association, Mexican Football Federation, Canadian Soccer Association, Russian Football Union, Qatar Football Association, and the Brazilian Football Confederation. All these countries are very different in many ways and have their own unique challenges, but it is very important to have a broader sense of the game and to understand variations of efforts that are on going throughout the World. We can always learn something from another, but it is most important that we establish our own, true American style to the game, by utilizing all of our resources. This can only happen by working closely with all our member organizations and by providing the best guidance and support to them. 


What are your specific plans for the Beach Soccer, Futsal, and Paralympic National Teams? 


These are all three very exciting disciplines of soccer. The goal is to work closely with our Olympic Development Programs and create a more strategic plan to offer opportunities and develop these disciplines. Also we will work directly with our U.S. Futsal governing body rather than competing with our member organization. All three disciplines of soccer will benefit greatly as we shift our focus to the inputs by aligning U.S. Soccer with member organizations. 


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. 


Our Women's National Team are hero's to millions of fans and they have become global leaders both on and off the field. We need to build upon those efforts and more. Currently. there are 10 FIFA Men's competitions and only 5 FIFA Women's competitions. It would be my charge to create a task force of female and male leaders to grow Women's soccer across the globe. Domestically, I would focus on aligning the NWSL the WPSL and UWS and ensuring they are guaranteed financial support from US Soccer. I’d propose launching a Futsal league for women and to lobby FIFA to start an Official FIFA Women’s Futsal World Cup. I am committed to working as hard as I can to secure broader TV coverage and sponsorships along with a first-of-its-kind, equitable revenue-sharing plan – these elements bring financial stability and generate funding for higher salaries. 


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 U.S. Development Academy has increased, not lessened, the cost to play soccer in the US. We need a system in place which helps U.S. Soccer to identify and nurture talent at the local level and vastly expand the pool of players. (Average cost for players has increased to $5,500 annually) 


The U.S. Development Academy must be placed under the Olympic Development Program, with exemption to the MLS and NWSL Academies. This raises the competitive level. It creates a better pathway for players to the MLS and NWSL. It keeps the competition more localized while creating a gateway for U.S. Soccer to enter into untapped multicultural communities. It broadens the player base. It eliminates direct competition with U.S. Youth Soccer or U.S. Club Soccer for player registrations. It also localizes soccer and decreases travel costs, which keeps so many qualified, talented players out of our system. 


SUPPORT OF NATIONAL TEAMS


During 2017, how many MNT games did you attend? 


2


During 2017, how many men's professional league games did you attend? 


12 


During 2017, how many WNT games did you attend? 



During 2017, how many NWSL games did you attend? 


0 


During 2017, how many streaming broadcasts of the Paralympic National Team World Championships in Argentina did you watch? 


1 


During 2017, how many streaming broadcasts of the Beach National Team did you watch (CONCACAF Championship or other)? 


3