By Michael Lewis
Don’t worry. The logo atop this story is correct.
It is upside down for a reason. It is a metaphor for the chaos at U.S. Soccer.
The first time that logo was used that way on this website occurred on Oct. 10, 2017, when the U.S. men’s national team failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Unless you are an ostrich or hiding under a rock, you already know that Carlos Cordeiro has resigned as president in wake of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s recent court filing in a lawsuit against the U.S. women’s national team.
In papers filed this week, the federation argued that playing for the men’s national team carries more responsibility and requires a higher level of skill than that has been demanded of women players. Pretty misogynistic when you’re talking about the four-time world championship team that has won the last two titles.
The federation was responding to the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the USWNT against the federation in March 2019. The suit demands $66 million in back pay under the Equal Pay act and the Civil Rights Act.
And if anyone thought they would sway the court of public opinion; they were dead wrong. If anything, it was a damning statement about U.S. Soccer as sponsors revolted about the revolting words.
In his resignation letter of Thursday night, Cordeiro (incredibly) wrote that he did not have the time the review the filing.
“I did not have the opportunity to fully review the filing in its entirety before it was submitted and I take responsibility for not doing so,” he said. “Had I done so, I would have objected to language that did not reflect my personal admiration for our women’s players or our values as an organization.”
Now, that says a lot about Cordeiro that he did not know what was said from his side of the suit.
It also was reported by the Associated Press’ Anne M. Peterson and Ronald Blum that Cordeiro announced his resignation on Twitter and did not tell the U.S. Soccer communications department it as his own staff was blindsided. It was an F-U to the organization.
A double wow!
How’s that for being unfit to lead an organization?
BTW, Cordeiro’s tenure of slightly more than two years is the shortest of any USSF president since 1971.
After reading Cordeiro’s comments, I began to wonder if the other board members had copies of the filing and whether they knew of the coarse and unacceptable language in it. If they did know what was stated and did not say anything until U.S. Soccer sponsors such as Coca Cola, Budweiser and Visa criticized the filings, then they must be held accountable on some level as well.
It is time for some of those board members to take a good look in the mirror.
Perhaps we will see another resignation or two, but I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it, given some individuals’ desire to retain power.
With all apologies to Cindy Parlow Cone, the former USSF vice president who has just assumed the president’s role as the first woman in that position, there is a major leadership void in the federation, a gap that appears to be getting worse.
Who knows? Perhaps Parlow Cone will be the answer for the short and long term. Remember, she was a member of the USWNT for 12 years and played for the 1999 Women’s World Cup champions and for two Olympic gold-medal and one silver-medal winning teams. So, Parlow Cone a unique prospective to give to the lawsuit and the federation in generation.
As for its leadership void, U.S. Soccer still hasn’t found a successor to CEO Dan Flynn, who resigned last year. Jay Berhlater, who was supposed to be his heir, resigned as Chief Commercial Officer on Feb. 6.
Plus, the federation is still reeling from the ultra-negative Glassdoor.com reviews by its employees of last June and still is feeling the after-effects of the U.S. men’s absolute embarrassing failure to reach the 2018 World Cup.
In some respects, the latest fiasco is U.S. Soccer’s version of the Coronavirus outbreak in that it could move forward in a constructive way or follow the ways of the past. In light of the USWNT’s success — it has won the last two Women’s World Cups, the USWNT discrimination lawsuit and the recent blow-up but what has occurred has only added more fuel to a fire that has been burning for too long.
Now, I know a lot of people who work for U.S. Soccer. Many of them are good people and workers who don’t have a political agenda accept to do the best job possible.
I would hope the organization’s leaders would do the same.