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Promoter sues USSF over proposed Ecuador match in Florida

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NEW YORK (AP) A promoter has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, asking a court to order the governing body to sanction an Ecuador league match in Florida.

Relevent Sports filed suit Monday in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging the USSF illegally denied its application to have Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil clubs play on May 5 at Miami Gardens, Florida.

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The lawsuit quotes USSF policy as stating the governing body’s secretary general “shall grant such sanction unless it is decided by clear and convincing evidence that holding or sponsoring the international soccer competition would be detrimental to the best interest of the sport.”

In a letter sent Monday to Relevent, USSF chief legal officer Lydia Wahlke wrote FIFA “remains opposed to playing official league matches outside the territory of the member association(s) to which the relevant league belongs.”

The USSF issued a statement Tuesday saying it treated the request as a normal application and it asked Ecuador and South American soccer’s governing body about the proposal and never heard back. The USSF pointed out Relevent sued even before the USSF denied the application.

Relevent attempted to stage the first Spanish La Liga match in the U.S., between Barcelona and Girona, at Miami Gardens on Jan. 26. That effort fell through following opposition from the governing body of Spanish soccer, the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, and the players’ union, the Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles.

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Relevant Sports sues USSF over proposed Ecuador match in Florida

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NEW YORK (AP) A promoter has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, asking a court to order the governing body to sanction an Ecuador league match in Florida.

Relevent Sports filed suit Monday in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging the USSF illegally refused to approve its application to have Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil clubs play on May 5 at Miami Gardens.

The lawsuit quotes USSF policy as stating the governing body’s secretary general “shall grant such sanction unless it is decided by clear and convincing evidence that holding or sponsoring the international soccer competition would be detrimental to the best interest of the sport.”

The USSF did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Relevent attempted to stage the first Spanish La Liga match in the U.S., between Barcelona and Girona at Miami Gardens on Jan. 26. That effort fell through following opposition from the governing body of Spanish soccer, the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, and the players’ union, the Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles.

U.S. Soccer stands ground in face of USWNT federal lawsuit against federation

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U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said the federation was blindsided when, on March 9, the U.S. Women’s National Team players filed a federal gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer itself.

In an open letter to fans, and likely, members of the USWNT, Cordeiro touted the financial investments U.S. Soccer has made in women’s soccer. This includes adding additional members to the USWNT technical staff, creating additional U.S. women’s youth national teams, and the creation of the SheBelievesCup. However, Cordeiro appears to have misunderstood, or refuses to understand, the underlying reasons behind the USWNT lawsuit. It’s related to the terms equal v. equatable.

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The USWNT players believe that U.S. Soccer is discriminating against their team on the basis of gender. For example, even though U.S. Soccer audits show that the USWNT earned more money in profit and revenue for the federation than their male counterparts over the past four years, the USWNT players are compensated well below the men’s team, per an article from Caitlin Murray on Yahoo!

In his open letter, Cordeiro stated that, “U.S. Soccer believes that all female athletes deserve fair and equitable pay, and we strive to meet this core value at all times.” In theory, if this belief was enacted, the USWNT players would be earning much more than their male counterparts, which failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Even in its 2017 CBA with the USWNT, which both sides are reportedly not happy with, according to the New York Times, the USWNT players, which had earned more than the USMNT players in the past year, did not receive “equitable,” or fair compensation, in comparison to the USMNT.

Ultimately, it’s unclear whether the USWNT will succeed with their lawsuit. It’s reportedly a high bar to jump over to prove that U.S. Soccer intentionally discriminated against the USWNT due to their gender. But with all the smoke, allagations and proof that exists in the wildly different compensation structures, the USWNT does have an argument to make that they at the least deserve truly equal treatment with the USMNT, if not better.

Cordeiro closed his letter stating he’s had initial conversations with some veteran USWNT players (those players were not disclosed), and he’s looking forward to more discussions with the players to work out a deal. But if U.S. Soccer continues to fight over the equal v. equitable label, it’s unlikely there will be a lot of progress made.

Carleton, Mendez headline U.S. U-20 squad for Spain training camp

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With about two months left to go before the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, Tab Ramos is getting one last look at his U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team squad.

Ramos called up 20 players to a training camp in Spain, with upcoming friendly matches against Japan and France. The squad features a mix of domestic-based and foreign-based players, including CONCACAF U-20 Championship star Alex Mendez, Ajax wingback Serginho Dest and Bayern Munich reserve defender Chris Richards.

Domestically, Atlanta United’s Andrew Carleton, New York City FC’s Juan Pablo Torres and D.C. United’s Chris Durkin all join a squad of players fighting for a chance to be in the final squad of 21. Uncapped call-ups include Seattle Sounders Homegrown signing Trey Muse, Columbus Crew Homegrown signing Aboubacar Keita, Durkin, Jonathan Amon of FC Nordsjaelland, and FC Barcelona’s Konrad de la Fuente.

“I’m looking forward to our last camp before the U-20 World Cup,” Ramos said in a statement. “With competition against two quality opponents, it’s one more opportunity for us to build a strong core and one more chance for the players to leave a good impression in order to be considered for the final 21-player roster. Japan always has highly skilled youth teams and France is always a World Cup contender.”

The U.S. U-20s first play France on March 22, before facing Japan on March 25.

The U.S. will face Qatar, Nigeria and Ukraine in Group D at the U-20 World Cup in Poland.

Here’s a look at the US U-20 MNT’s squad:

GOALKEEPERS (2): C.J. Dos Santos (Benfica/POR; Philadelphia, Pa.; 1/0), Trey Muse (Seattle Sounders FC; Louisville, Ky.; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (6): Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED; Almere-Stad, Netherlands; 6/1), Chris Gloster (Hannover 96/GER; South Orange, N.J.; 9/0), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew SC; Columbus, Ohio; 0/0), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City; Charlotte, N.C.; 5/0), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union; Drexel Hill, Pa.; 8/0), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich/GER; Hoover, Ala.; 6/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Frankie Amaya (FC Cincinnati; Santa Ana, Calif.; 11/1), Christian Cappis (Hobro/DEN; Katy, Texas; 2/0); Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC; Powder Springs, Ga.; 5/2), , Chris Durkin (D.C. United; Glen Allen, Va.; 0/0), Alex Mendez (Freiburg/GER; Los Angeles, Calif.; 13/8), Juan Pablo Torres (New York City FC; Lilburn, Ga.; 10/4)

FORWARDS (6): Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC/CAN; Detroit, Mich.; 10/9), Jonathan Amon (Nordsjaelland/DEN; Summerville, S.C.; 0/0), Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona/ESP; Barcelona, Spain; 0/0), Ulysses Llanez (Unattached; Lynwood, Calif.; 9/7), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution; Hamilton, Mass.; 12/6), Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96/GER; San Diego, Calif.; 3/2)

FIFA denies solidarity payments for Dempsey, Bradley

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If you’re looking for a sentence that will enrage and stun you for a second, even if you think FIFA is the most crooked thing on Earth, just wait a few paragraphs.

FIFA has denied solidarity payments to two clubs for the development of USMNT players Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. That’s not the shocking part, considering that U.S. Soccer has a long history of not aligning with the transfer rules followed by most of the world.

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No blood, no foul. Well, at least no surprise.

But what FIFA said in denying the money to the Dallas Texans and Sockers FC Chicago is, frankly, wild even for them (The DRC in the drop quote is FIFA’s Dispute Resolution Center). From ESPN.com:

The documents didn’t specify why the cases involving Sockers FC Chicago and the Dallas Texans were turned down. One of the letters from the DRC stated that if a club wants a full explanation for its decision, it must pay FIFA a fee of nearly $10,000.

I suppose I could write a lot more simply by riffing on that facr, but I’m not going to do that. That’s enough for one night.

But the ESPN report, citing an expert, speculates that Bradley and Dempsey’s unkempt player passports — a U.S. Soccer problem now rectified with current youth players — is the reason for denial.