US Soccer should be preparing for the 2018 World Cup, but obviously they’re not. Last fall’s failure to qualify for Russia was a nadir for the sport in the United States, and should have served as a wake-up call for the federation.
Instead, things have continued to spiral; a contentious presidential election resulted in one of Sunil Gulati’s confidantes, Carlos Cordeiro (seen above), getting the job. Then news came that the 2026 World Cup bid, previously seen as a formality, might actually be in trouble. Now, Grant Wahl is reporting that US Soccer can’t find anyone to take their newly-created GM position.
The newly created U.S. Soccer men’s general manager position has yet to be filled, and multiple sources says the job is being seen as unattractive by many of the people who were originally intended to be targets for it. Those sources say the GM job as it’s designed isn’t nearly powerful enough and doesn’t have any control over youth development.
There is also concern that with the GM reporting to CEO Dan Flynn and Flynn not planning to stay on for the long term that it could be a bad fit when a new CEO comes in to replace Flynn and oversee the GM. Two sources went so far as to say they think U.S. Soccer created the position to show an angry fanbase it was doing something different when in fact they don’t think the federation really wants to make wholesale changes despite missing the 2018 World Cup.
The GM position was announced in December, and theoretically it would be a role that would oversee the senior team, for men and women respectively. US Soccer CEO Dan Flynn described the role in February, via Yahoo:
The truncated version of the job description, per Flynn, includes the “hiring and firing of national team coaches,” an “overall responsibility for the technical side of the senior team,” the building of a “strong, integrated national team staff,” the “management of the day-to-day environment,” the “monitoring of the player pool, and integration of new players.”
As Wahl noted, if Flynn is leaving soon, why would he be in charge of this hiring process? Regardless of that element, the org chart for US Soccer is becoming increasingly convoluted. This GM position would sit in between national team manager and CEO, but not have any input on the youth development side. It’s no surprise that candidates aren’t interested; it’s essentially middle management. How is US Soccer so bad at soccer?
These developments are serving to make Jurgen Klinsmann’s run as USMNT manager and US Soccer technical director look much better in retrospect.