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Sunday, June 16, 2024

U.S. Soccer votes to pay USSF president for 1st time

The U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) National Council voted on Saturday to make the position of USSF president a paid position for the first time in the federation’s history.

The vote took place at the USSF’s Annual General Meeting being held in Dallas. The change to Bylaw 401 Section 1C, which states that the USSF president will receive a stipend of $150,000 per year, passed with the support of 80.88% of the weighted vote, easily beating the two-thirds majority threshold needed for passage.

A similar measure at last year’s AGM was narrowly defeated.

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The bylaw change has long been pushed for within the membership, which consists of a spectrum of representatives — including those from youth and adult state soccer associations, as well as councils representing athletes, stakeholders in the professional game and other affiliate members.

The thinking is that having the office of president be a volunteer position restricted the pool of available candidates to those who were wealthy enough to meet the time commitment needed to do the job. Advocates also stressed that the position was akin to a full-time job, especially with the U.S. set to co-host the 2026 men’s World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

Among the opponents of the measure was Dave Guthrie, executive director of the Indiana State Soccer Association. Guthrie’s concerns centered on the legality of paying the president of a nonprofit organization, and whether the duties currently being undertaken by the president would be better done by USSF employees.

Guthrie stated that the president is supposed to be a steward of the game and focus on setting a vision.

“If we’re casting all of these responsibilities on the president, that’s not following best practices for a 501(c)(3),” he added. Instead he said that the USSF “should reallocate those responsibilities back to staff and have our president focus” on the responsibilities outlined in the USSF’s bylaws.

Hugh Goodridge, president of the New York State West Youth Soccer Association said he would vote against the measure because “other compensation is being provided” to the USSF president.

Cone also sits on the Concacaf Council, with a source confirming to ESPN that the position pays $125,000 per year.

Juan Uro, an independent member of the USSF Board of Directors, and the sponsor of the bylaw change, countered that there were no legal issues, and that his research indicated that “the officer can be paid, full stop.”

“We are not trying to operate like the Mayo Clinic or the Red Cross …We are soccer. We need the president to stand out and work with other [federation] presidents around the world,” he added.

Uro’s position ultimately carried the day.

In other federation business, the USSF National Council elected Nathán Goldberg Crenier to the office of USSF vice-president. Goldberg Crenier, who will now serve a four-year term, defeated USSF board member Dr. Pete Zopfi by a vote of 75% to 25%.

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