By Michael Lewis
A special U.S. Soccer board of directors meeting to discuss the history of hiring of U.S. national team coaches won’t be held until next month.
U.S. Soccer CEO/secretary general Dan Flynn told board members that it would be better to talk about that at the regularly scheduled meeting in December around MLS Cup, according to a pair of sources in the U.S. soccer community.
No exact date has been established yet. According to U.S. Soccer, the next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3, while MLS Cup is set for Saturday, Dec. 9.
Flynn called the board members during the week, asking for a delay because that there was quite a bit of information to compile prior to the special meeting and that there many matters on the organization’s agenda to attend to at U.S. Soccer House in Chicago.
Since this was not an urgent matter and that several board members might have problems getting to Chicago on such short notice, Flynn asked the board to put that topic off until the next scheduled meeting, according to the sources.
The board “wanted to make sure it did this right and everybody’s present,” a source said.
Flynn said that he would send a letter to board members saying that the federation would take no action on the next men’s national team coach until the board has that December meeting, a source said.
Last week eight board members wrote letters to Flynn asking for the special meeting, which is a rare occurrence. A minimum of five board members need to schedule a special meeting.
The special meeting needs to have a topic of discussion, as per U.S. Soccer regulations.
That topic is to accrue information on the history of hiring U.S. national team coaches and clarity of the process. That includes how head coaches have been vetted and how contracts were made, a discussion on how the board can participate more in the selection process or whether it should put policies or guidelines together, the source said.
Expected to be discussed would be the hiring and firing of former U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, whose dismissal cost the federation millions of dollars in a payout, one source said.
With a presidential election scheduled for U.S. Soccer’s Annual General Meeting in Orlando Feb. 8-11, the board wants to ensure there are guidelines in place on whoever is president to select the new coach.
Incumbent president Sunil Gulati has not announced whether he will run for a fourth term. Several challengers have declared their intentions to pursue the position.
The national team has been without a permanent head coach after Bruce Arena resigned in wake of the team’s failure to qualify for its eighth consecutive World Cup in Russia 2018. Arena was hired in 2016 after Klinsmann was sacked when the U.S. lost its first two matches of the CONCACAF Hexagonal.
Dave Sarachan, long-time assistant to Arena, will direct the team as interim coach in Portugal Nov. 14.