Depending on your vantage point, the U.S. Soccer Federation had a decent year or struggled through the past 12 months.
Of course, the big headlines were made by the U.S. women’s national team, which captured its second consecutive Women’s World Cup and fourth overall.
That same team sued the federation for gender discrimination in a California federal court on International Women’s Day March 8. The suit claimed the USSF had paid lip service to gender equality and paid the U.S. men’s national team, which hasn’t been nearly as successful, more money.
That is one of several lawsuits the federation has faced, including the North American Soccer League’s anti-trust suit that is expected to go to trial in 2020.
U.S. Soccer still hasn’t found a successor to long-time CEO and executive director Dan Flynn, who stepped down in September. Brian Remedi, more or less, has been in charge on an interim basis. Heir apparent Jay Berhalter, the brother of U.S. men’s national coach Gregg Berhalter, supposedly had the inside track on the permanent position.
But Jay Berhalter’s chances of succeeding Flynn was all but torpedoed after The New York Times reported low morale at the federation’s offices in Chicago after many employees — current and former — gave their reviews to the website Glassdoor. According to the reviews, the Times reported that the federation was “a terrible and toxic place to work,” plus “a culture of fear and intimidation” and that “morale is at an all=time low.”
As for the struggling men’s team, the USA reached the Concacaf Gold Cup final, but lost to Mexico. The squad qualified for the Concacaf Nations League semifinals but dropped an alarming 2-0 loss to Canada in Toronto to first defeat to the country’s northern neighbors since 1985.
Will things get better in 2020? They must. The federation hopes to hire Flynn’s successor early in the year. That won’t solve all its problems, but it is expected to be a step in the right direction.
Wednesday: National story No. 6