Dan Flynn

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U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn to retire this month

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CHICAGO — Dan Flynn will retire as chief executive officer and secretary general of the U.S. Soccer Federation on Sept. 16.

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While the search for a successor continues, the USSF said Monday that Brian Remedi will serve as chief administrative officer in addition to chief stakeholder officer. Remedi is listed as third on the federation staff directory, behind Jay Berhalter, who is chief commercial and strategy officer.

Jay Berhalter is the brother of Gregg Berhalter, who was hired in December as the U.S. men’s national team coach.

The 64-year-old Flynn had said at the USSF annual general meeting in February that he planned to leave this year.

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Flynn replaced Hank Steinbrecher as secretary general in June 2000, and his tenure included the launch of training centers in Carson, California, and Kansas City, Kansas, and a new U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas. He assisted in the organization for the 2003 Women’s World Cup in the U.S. and the launch of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Flynn was the Chicago venue executive director for the 1994 World Cup, then worked under Steinbrecher at the USSF from 1994-98 as chief administrative officer and later chief operating officer. Flynn then spent two years as executive director of the U.S. Soccer Foundation.

He was a member of the St. Louis University teams that won the NCAA soccer title in 1973 and finished second the following year.

Report: ‘Toxic’ environment inside U.S. Soccer sees employees rage

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According to a report by the New York Times, current and former U.S. Soccer employees have been anonymously posting scathing reviews of the organization on a networking website called Glassdoor, describing what the NYT report calls a “terrible and toxic place to work.”

The New York Times found the posts and conducted its own investigation, confirming that they accurately reflect feelings inside the organization. They anonymously interviewed current and former employees who described “a culture of fear and intimidation” that has “morale at an all-time low.”

NYT reporter Andrew Das led the investigation and uncovered what he describes as a “behind-the-scenes revolt” that is active and ongoing, with posts flowing onto the networking site even as the U.S. women compete in the Women’s World Cup. The posts began in May, Das reports, and there have been seven new writeups since the start of the event in France.

The Times report details the grumblings within the organization that has become frustrated with a hierarchy dominated by a few longtime executives who have consolidated power and do not delegate tasks to those within.

“Pay is absolutely abysmal. The hiring process is a joke,” wrote one review titled “Dream Job, Nightmare Organization.” “Talented people are getting crushed by this organization left and right, mainly because of being overworked, underpaid, and treated incredibly poorly by the upper management. This results in a lot of current employees doing one or two other jobs in addition to their own, with no pay increase, no overtime, no time off, no title change, and no recognition.”

“Stop taking advantage of people’s love for the game,” the post continued. “Just because we love soccer so much doesn’t give you the right to overwork us to the point where you make us hate it. This was my dream job.”

In a phone interview with the New York Times, an employee called the posts “a cry for help” and said they were motivated by the coming change in leadership with CEO Dan Flynn set to retire and his second-in-command Jay Berhalter – the brother of national team coach Gregg Berhalter – the favorite to take over.

“Nothing will change unless the leadership changes,” the post reads. “Bring in an outside CEO. Please, just stop it with the nepotism. There are still so many hard-working, talented people in the organization that deserve so much better than this. U.S. Soccer has so much potential to be a fantastic organization, but change needs to happen.”

“Executives are more interested in what benefits them rather than ‘making soccer the preeminent sport in America’,” another post reads.

Das writes that he reached out to U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro who said they are aware of the posts but would not comment.

U.S. Soccer ‘in final stages of hiring’ new CEO; Jay Berhalter in running

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The United States men’s and women’s national teams have started serious summer competitions, but a gigantic story may be flying under the radar thanks to the Gold Cup and Women’s World Cup.

On Thursday, the Washington Post’s Steven Goff reported that the United States Soccer Federation was “in the final stages” of hiring a replacement for outgoing U.S. Soccer Federation CEO Dan Flynn (above), and that Jay Berhalter was in the running for the gig.

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Jay is the brother of Gregg Berhalter, the USMNT head coach, and Goff added this tidbit on Friday: Flynn wants the longtime USMNT executive to replace him and current USSF president Carlos Cordeiro doesn’t approve of the idea.

The appointment is done by the USSF’s Board of Directors, of whom Sunil Gulati is a non-voting member but maintains plenty of sway with the rest of the elected board.

Cordeiro can vote on the matter, as can new vice president Cindy Parlow Cone, MLS commissioner Don Garber, USL owner Alec Papadakis, and the following names listed on the USSF web page: Athlete reps Chris Ahrens, Carlos Bocanegra, and Lori Lindsey (Lindsay Tarpley Snow – Alternate); Adult Council representatives Richard Moeller, John Motta, Youth Council representatives Dr. Pete Zopfi, Tim Turney, At-Large rep Mike Cullina; and Independent directors Lisa Carnoy and Patti Hart.

Jay Berhalter has been “next man up” for the gig for some time, and his status within the organization was a constant talking point in the process of hiring a new USMNT coach. That turned out to be his brother Gregg, who has a fine resume and is 4W-2L-1T since taking the reins, but the search committee may not have spoken in-depth with some of the top available and interested names.

An odd footnote to this appointment is a burst of USSF employee reviews at the web site Glassdoor which specifically targeted executives for a poor working environment and stale atmosphere. At least 10 of the 78 reviews have come since the start of June and several have headlines along the lines of “Culture Dependent on Next CEO” and “Dream Job, Nightmare Potential.”

A couple of points from the Internet, one from former USMNT forward Herculez Gomez in December and another from longtime American soccer writer Charles Boehm.

Report: USSF CEO Dan Flynn to step down in 2019

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According to a report by Washington Post reporter Steven Goff, U.S. Soccer Federation CEO and General Secretary Dan Flynn will step down from his position in the aftermath of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Flynn has been atop USSF for the last 18 years, generally credited for turning around the finances of the federation from a position of instability and insecurity to generate a $150 million reserve fund.

The 63-year-old has been a source of stability for U.S. Soccer over the past two decades despite multiple changes around him. He began serving with U.S. Soccer back in 1994 when he left his position as president of Anheuser-Busch and worked on the United States’ production of the World Cup that summer. After that, he served as Chief Administrative Officer and as Chief Operating Officer until his hiring as CEO in 2000.

The report states that Flynn will assist in the transition to his successor after stepping down. While no timetable is given for his departure other than to suggest it will take place during the 2019 calendar year, the report states that it is unlikely that he will leave before the end of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Flynn was the genesis of the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, TX and is the federation’s highest paid employee.

Commisso, USSF at impasse over $500m meeting

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New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso tells ProSoccerTalk that he pulled out of a Wednesday meeting with U.S. Soccer regarding his nine-figure offer to fund an American soccer league due to the federation’s unwillingness to send what the NASL deemed the proper decision-makers.

Commisso and several North American Soccer League owners were set to meet with U.S. Soccer in Chicago, but changed their plans when the federation’s delegation was limited to CEO Dan Flynn and legal counsel.

He says the NASL has since proposed a meeting under New York State not-for-profit law which would have the league meet with USSF board members who do not have direct ties to MLS, USL, or SUM.

The Cosmos owner promised $250 million of his own money as well as fundraising of an additional $250 million from other investors.

A spokesman for U.S. Soccer tells ProSoccerTalk that it has responded to Commisso’s latest letter regarding the meeting, and remains open to meeting in the future, noting that it initially proposed the dates and location for a meeting.

And Commisso says the federation’s latest communication says a meeting cannot happen with any board members, as they may be tainted by being subjects of NASL lawsuits. Commisso points out that he’s suing Flynn and Cordeiro as well.

Commisso — who has rallied against conflicts of interest between the USSF, Major League Soccer, and Soccer United Marketing — says he wanted to work out a deal with the federation and its board members, but his conditions were not met and the USSF’s conditions were a non-starter.

On the NASL side, Commisso did not wish to share what he deems “proprietary information” with board members, noting that several members of the USSF’s board of directors were his competitors due to ties with MLS and the USL. In the NASL’s view, meetings like this have led to almost instant competitive reactions from direct competitors to torpedo their plans and trigger competitive imbalance from what Commisso calls “monopoly galore.”

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U.S. Soccer says it’s protecting his information. He’s not so sure.

“The latest from my end,” Commisso said. “We’re gonna make it public one of these days. It’s not true that they are protecting my information. According to my email, they say they have to bring it up to the board. Garber may not vote on it, but they are gonna talk about it. We asked for a special committee of non-conflicted board members, and they won’t give it.”

He essentially views the federation’s request to get his plan for the league and investment as a fact-finding mission. With Carlos Cordeiro unavailable due to campaigning for the hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup, the two sides would not be able to leave the meeting with a plan that would not require further, higher approval. His priority is the bid, a critical moment for his new administration.

The federation wants a plan before a meeting. The league doesn’t believe the plan won’t be shared with its competitors, but requires USSF sanctioning for one because Commisso wants to continue to recruit players of national team caliber and playing in a non-FIFA recognized “Division Zero” league would prohibit that.

And time is on the USSF’s side, not the NASL. While Commisso and other owners have the money to restart their teams at any time, other markets necessary to the league’s reclamation need time.

Commisso says U.S. Soccer told him that a meeting was not necessary for the NASL to apply for division sanctioning before an August deadline for any league.

Commisso’s main requests were a 10-year “runway” to meeting Professional League Standards, and the ability to own multiple teams. He’s also a proponent of promotion and relegation, rules against leagues “poaching” teams, and several measures of transparency and open bidding.

He admits he was stung that after investing millions of dollars to keep the NASL alive, the USSF removed its second division status “five and a half months after my first game,” while the rival USL got more time to fulfill Professional League Standards.

He also rejects the close relationship between MLS and the USL.

“It’s monopoly galore,” he said. “The USL is largely farm teams for MLS. B Teams.”

So what happens if U.S. Soccer doesn’t meet the conditions for a meeting?

“I can’t disclose that,” Commisso said. “But there’s a second part. The law suits continue, and no one gets me to shut my mouth. I will do all I can to represent all the shareholders in United States Soccer.”