The race to become the next president of U.S. Soccer got a lot more interesting on Thursday, when legendary U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo announced, via her Facebook page, that she has decided to run for election in February.
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Solo made over 200 appearances and recorded over 100 shutouts during her 17-year USWNT career, which ended last year after comments she made following the team’s elimination from the 2016 Olympics.
Solo, who becomes the ninth candidate to declare, is running on a platform which is player development-, equality- and accessibility-heavy, as she repeatedly refers to the U.S. Soccer Federation as a “nonprofit organization” — which it is — and lambasts the governing body “with millions of dollars at its disposal [for not making] the world’s most beloved sport accessible to all” — from Solo’s Facebook note:
We need passionate and intelligent soccer people leading the way at U.S Soccer. The business strategy at U.S. Soccer cannot continue to be profit before progress. The heart of what USSF must represent is the development of youth soccer in America.
Progress is a process, but the system currently in place does not allow for progress to happen at the rate soccer purists would hope for. It’s the stubborn and elitist attitude of U.S. Soccer to continue down the path of capitalism first. My time in the negotiating room, as well as in countless meetings with USSF presidents, vice presidents, press officers, board members, attorneys and representatives, all the way down the line has given me firsthand experience in their business tactics and where their true goal lies. It has always been about the money.
But the question we all must ask ourselves is this: why does a “profitable” nonprofit organization with millions of dollars at its disposal not make the world’s most beloved sport accessible to all? Where do the massive amounts of money go?
I certainly don’t know, even after taking legal action to find out. As a player, as a representative of my team in negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and as a Players Association member, we were never able to get answers to our questions with regard to where the millions of dollars from Soccer United Marketing (SUM) and sponsors go, or where the millions of dollars collected from the youth club fees go.
The USSF is a nonprofit organization that refuses to be transparent in its business dealings. It refuses to follow the Equal Pay Act that was passed more than 60 years ago, and despite reports to the contrary, the economic and financial terms of the new World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Team’s Collective Bargaining Agreement do not provide the USWNT equal pay, and are neither fair nor equitable.
Solo cites “Equality and Women’s Issues” as the second principle of her campaign, along with “Creating a Winning Culture at USSF,” “Youth and Diversity at all levels” and “Organizational, Operational and Financial Governance Transparency.”
“Soccer is the World’s game, and I want to share it with all of America,” she writes.