In one week, U.S. Soccer members — from big-shot board members to little-known delegates from far-flung state associations — will descend upon a hotel just outside Disney World and Sea World. They’ll have two days of preliminary meetings and a welcome event at Hollywood Studios. (I have not yet inquired about Fastpasses for Toy Story Mania.)
Then on Saturday, it’s the Big Vote. Eight candidates enter. One takes over the presidency from Sunil Gulati.
And we still have so many questions left unanswered. So many ideas that haven’t been fully vetted. So many vague statements.
So let’s come up with a list of questions — some for all candidates, some for specific candidates. Then I’ll see if I can get them answered.
You can leave them as comments here. You can email me. You can hit me up on Twitter.
Here are a few to get us started:
- What will you do to work with the 7-a-side program (for athletes with cerebral palsy or brain injury) while it’s not part of the Paralympic Games program?
- Can anything be done to start a 5-a-side program for visually impaired athletes, a sport that is in the Paralympic Games? Have you already had conversations with athletes about doing this?
- Most conversations about futsal in this campaign have focused on using it as a youth development tool. But we have a men’s national team and a couple of budding pro leagues. What’s the next step for building out the game at the elite level?
- Name three things that can be done to improve the women’s league.
Women’s national team
- Will you try to negotiate both the MNT and WNT collective bargaining agreements at the same time?
- Hypothetical: You’re negotiating with the WNT. They ask for 24 players to be put on full-time salary with restrictions on the number of “floaters” who can come into camp. The coaching staff has warned that they need flexibility to call in players who are impressing in the NWSL and Europe. What’s your next move?
- Hypothetical: Let’s say the state associations, backed by a national movement of parents and coaches, ask USSF to standardize leagues throughout the country, folding the Development Academy and other elite leagues into a clearly defined pyramid with promotion/relegation and more local play (less travel). U.S. Club Soccer, predictably, gets very upset. What’s your next move?
- Will you tell Development Academy clubs to let their players play high school soccer? Do you see any sort of compromise (say, letting kids play their junior and senior years)?
- Hypothetical: You’re trying to sell the Open Cup as a separate TV property. The best bid you have is from an online streaming service that just launched a year ago. They’re offering four times as much as any traditional broadcaster. What’s your next move?
- NEW! Should the Open Cup run a fall-to-spring schedule that isn’t tied to the summer leagues (NPSL, PDL). If so, would you favor a separate Summer Open Cup for those leagues?
- Would you be open to a modified promotion/relegation system in which clubs can’t be relegated below a specific floor (for “major” clubs, D2; for other fully professional clubs, D3)?
- Hypothetical: You get a conglomeration of leagues to agree to set up a pyramid. MLS says it will not participate. The top league in your pyramid applies for D1. The task force recommends approval. MLS lawyers up. What’s your next move?
- Some lawyers and others with experience in the nonprofit world and with NGBs are skeptical of your idea to turn USSF into a lending bank. How would you respond?
- Will you please, please stop saying “international calendar” in reference to the fall-to-spring calendar that isn’t used in half the world? (Sorry, pet peeve of mine.)
- Where did you hear the incorrect statement that U.S. Soccer coaching licenses are not age appropriate? (The purpose of this question is to find out where she’s getting misinformation like this and whether she has taken steps to find better sources of info.)
- If you win the presidency, you will be in the position of defending the federation against a grievance you filed. What’s your next move?
- In your Progress Plan, why would any club created after 2024 be “non-league”? What happens if we have major demographic and climate shifts?
- Why move all of U.S. Soccer to New York and not just have a satellite office?
- You’ve demonstrated a reluctance to do interviews. How will you adapt to the role of president, when you be required to do many press conferences?
- Is it a conflict of interest to have the head of SUM, Don Garber, serving on the Board as long as it’s been in its current (15-member) configuration AND serving as the chairperson of the Nominating and Governance Committee? If not, why not?
- What happened to SUM’s site? It’s now redirected to a page on the quasi-independent MLSSoccer.com.
- Would MLS expansion fees be cheaper if new owners did not get a share of SUM? Is there any way to untangle that relationship?
- Would MLS be in good shape, financially (either profitable or running a loss only because it’s investing in future growth), if it were separated from SUM?
- Plenty of people who understand how SUM helped save professional soccer in 2002 question whether it’s still necessary in its current form (co-mingled with MLS) today. How would you respond?