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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.”

[ RECAP: Chelsea 1-1 Huddersfield ]

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.”

New US soccer GMs to report to CEO, not president

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CHICAGO (AP) The new general managers of the men’s and women’s national teams will report to U.S. Soccer Federation chief executive officer Dan Flynn and not new USSF president Carlos Cordeiro.

The new positions were approved by the USSF board of directors in December and Flynn said understanding of the U.S. leagues in a key attribute for candidates. The new men’s GM likely will be hired first and will head the search for a new men’s coach to replace Bruce Arena, who quit in October after the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Flynn is on the search committee that will recommend the candidates for the new roles to the USSF board. He is joined on the committee by USSF board members Carlos Bocanegra and Angela Hucles, chief operating officer Jay Berhalter, director of sporting development Ryan Mooney and sport development programs director Nico Romeijn.

“The main responsibilities will include hiring and firing of the senior national team head coaches, overall responsibility for the technical side of the senior team, build a strong, integrated national team staff and management of the day-to-day environment, and monitor of the player pool and integration of new players,” Flynn said.

The U.S. could consider coach candidates from among people working on national teams for this year’s World Cup.

“I don’t think that’s going to hinder us in any way in terms of identifying candidates and speaking to candidates,” he said. “The timing of the hire could be impacted by that.”

Cordeiro was elected Feb. 10 after Sunil Gulati decided not to seek a fourth four-year term.

NASL launches new suit against U.S. Soccer board

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The North American Soccer League continues to decry corruption from the United States Soccer Federation, putting more pressure on the federation’s establishment ahead of a massive presidential election next week.

The NASL announced a lawsuit against the USSF board members on Tuesday in a blazing 69-page document, accusing the board of a “breach of the directors’ fiduciary duties to the USSF’s members.” It flies in similar circles as Hope Solo’s brazen weekend complaint.

The lawsuit also demands that U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, MLS commissioner Don Garber, and “any additional Defendants identified during fact discovery” cannot be reimbursed by the USSF for damages or defense costs.

Saying the directors “have abused their positions as governors and stewards” for the development of soccer in the U.S. by protecting the interests of Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League, and Soccer United Marketing.

The league also asserts that the USSF board has consistently interfered with the NASL’s business practices, allowing the USL to operate as a D-II league under a plan to one day reach a D-II standard while refusing the same to NASL.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Johannsson’s cheeky Bremen goal ]

It also claims that the vote on divisional sanctioning had a “preordained” result and hurriedly organized by Gulati without proper information for the board members and without all members at the meeting.

The suit tears into the much-maligned MLS-SUM relationship.

“Notably, the Board has allowed SUM to use the USSF’s most valuable assets — rights in the FIFA World Cup and U.S. national teams’ television broadcasts and ticket sales — to enrich and empower MLS to the competitive disadvantage of rival leagues, as well as depriving other USSF member groups of potential funding.”

All but one board member, John Paul Motta, was named in the suit: Gulati, Garber, presidential candidate Carlos Cordeiro, and USMNT legend Carlos Bocanegra are the names most know, while Stephen Malik, John Collins, Donna Shalala, Valerie Ackerman, Daniel Flynn, Lisa Carnoy, Richard Moeller, Jesse Harrell, Timothy Turney, Christopher Ahrens, and Angela Hucles are less familiar.

Exhale.

The league, which had stood as U.S. Soccer’s lone second-tier organization for some time, has been battling the USSF since the federation took away its Division II status.

What’s wild about the entire ordeal is that the public’s interest has certainly paid extra attention to the NASL’s concerns since Bruce Arena and the USMNT bombed out of World Cup qualifying. The federation has little momentum — but plenty of influence and money — to fight back, and relatively small stories like complaints about the bizarre and unorthodox MLS transfer system have become big anchors for those seeking change in the federation (In this vein, we imagine Gulati and the federation might be agreeing with Geoff Cameron’s vibes right about now).

U.S. Soccer secretary general grilled by Congress on knowledge of FIFA scandal

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An ongoing hearing at U.S. Congress on the governance and integrity of international soccer aired live Wednesday afternoon on CSPAN, and it’s fair to say it was pretty uncomfortable (Watch it now, or start from the beginning on CSPAN here).

Senators Richard Blumenthal, Jerry Moran, Amy Klobuchar, and Steve Danes took turns asking questions of U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General Dan Flynn.

Those queries dealt with the American federation’s knowledge of the FIFA scandal, what it’s done to stop it, and even American corporations sponsoring FIFA and the difference in money between men’s vs. women’s soccer.

After British reporter Andrew Jennings opened by taking some colorful shots at FIFA, and wondering why U.S. Soccer isn’t stepping up to stop the “dirty slimebags at FIFA,” Flynn went under microscope.

[ MORE: All the latest on Sepp Blatter & FIFA ]

Flynn pointed out that FIFA was run in such a manner that U.S. Soccer had to politically pick their battles in order to protect the country’s investment in the sport and competitions. He also rightly pointed out several ways in which the U.S. has taken the lead in progressing FIFA toward equality and cleaner operations.

Without getting into the politically-worded questions of the senators — like those involving “Seep” Blatter and “FIFE-A” — here are some important quotes and recaps of what Flynn’s responses.

On if U.S. Soccer was aware of FIFA wrongdoing: “I nor anyone I work with has not brought anything to my attention, cold-hard facts, or anyone in my organization”

On Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner’s wrongdoingFlynn said their activites were “private, individual transactions” that needed help from the FBI for four years to bring to light. Regional sponsorship and broadcast rights “had nothing to do with U.S. Soccer”

To what extent he thought there was something amiss: “There were moments I would describe that if I had a level of discomfort, I would not participate or remove myself. If there was cold facts, I would’ve brought that to the attention of appropriate people”

On what he’d do differently; “I wouldn’t say that we would do it differently. Our focus has been.. we’re one of 209 national associations. We have really, at the end of the day, to find a way to participate in a manner that” would facilitate their growth.

On what he was told if he would stand up to Chuck Blazer: There was concern that if he brought stuff to his attention, “I’d feel discomfort in other ways”.