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United States Soccer Federation

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Title: United States Soccer Federation  
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United States Soccer Federation

United States Soccer Federation
Association crest
Founded April 5, 1913 (1913-04-05) [1]
FIFA affiliation 1914
CONCACAF affiliation 1961
President Sunil Gulati
Website .comUSSoccer

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF), commonly referred to as U.S. Soccer, is the official governing body of the sport of soccer in the United States. With headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, the FIFA member governs U.S. amateur and professional soccer, including the men's, women's, youth, beach soccer, futsal and Paralympic national teams. U.S. Soccer sanctions referees and soccer tournaments for most soccer leagues in the United States. The U.S. Soccer Federation also administers and operates the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which was first held in 1914.

Organization and governance

U.S. Soccer is governed by a Board of Directors, led by President Sunil Gulati and Executive Vice President Mike Edwards.[2] Dan Flynn is the CEO and Secretary General. The Board administers the affairs of U.S. Soccer.

U.S. Soccer is a member of international soccer bodies FIFA and CONCACAF, and also has a relationship with the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.[3]


United States Soccer Federation headquarters building, known as U.S. Soccer House, on Prairie Avenue in Chicago

U.S. Soccer was originally known as the United States Football Association. It formed on April 5, 1913[4] and on August 15 of that year was accepted as one of the earliest member organizations of FIFA and the first from North and Central America. The affiliation was temporary and at the following year's FIFA Congress in 1914, the USFA, as it was abbreviated at the time, was accepted as a full FIFA member.[5] The governing body of the sport in the United States added the word soccer to its name in 1945, when it became the United States Soccer Football Association. It dropped the word football from its name in 1974 to become known as the United States Soccer Federation.[6]

U.S. Soccer has hosted several global soccer tournaments, including the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1999 and 2003, and the Summer Olympics in 1984 and 1996.

National teams

The U.S. men's national team

The men's national team was invited to the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and qualified for the World Cup in 1934, finishing a respectable Third Place in 1930 out of 13 teams participating. In 1950 the United States scored one of its most surprising victories with a 1–0 win over heavily favored England, who were amongst the world's best sides at the time.

The United States failed to reach another World Cup until an upstart team qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup with the "goal heard around the world" scored by Paul Caligiuri against Trinidad and Tobago, which started the modern era of soccer in the United States. The 1990 men's national team was quickly disposed of at the World Cup, but nonetheless had qualified for its first World Cup in 40 years.

The United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup, setting total and average attendance records that still stand, including drawing 94,194 fans to the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final. The United States made a surprising run to the second round with a shocking victory over Colombia which saw Andrés Escobar, the player responsible for the United States' first goal (an own goal), later shot to death in his homeland.

1998 saw another disappointing addition to the history of the men's national team as it finished 32nd out of the 32 teams that qualified for the World Cup. This embarrassment, which included a total collapse of team chemistry and leadership, led to the firing of manager Steve Sampson.

The U.S. team hired Bruce Arena, who had won the first two MLS Cups in Major League Soccer history, and who went on to become the most successful United States men's national team manager in history. In 2002 Bruce Arena led a mix of veterans and MLS-seasoned youth to a quarterfinal appearance, dispatching contenders Portugal in group play and archrivals Mexico in the Round of 16, before losing a closely fought game with eventual Runners-Up Germany in the quarterfinal.

The team looked to match or surpass that feat in 2006; the U.S. was drawn into a group with Italy, the Czech Republic and Ghana. The United States lost to the Czech Republic 3–0 in their opening game, drew Italy 1–1 in their second game (a match that saw two U.S. players and an Italian player red carded), and lost to Ghana 2–1. The United States did not advance out of the group, but were the only team to face eventual winner Italy without losing. In the wake of the team's disappointing performance, Arena's contract was not renewed.

Bob Bradley, Chivas USA manager and Arena's assistant manager with the men's national team, eventually succeeded Arena in 2007. The U.S. qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa,[7] winning the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. At the World Cup, the Americans tied England 1–1, tied Slovenia 2–2. and then won their group by defeating Algeria 1–0 on a stoppage time goal by Landon Donovan. In the Round of 16, the United States played Ghana, and fell 2–1 in extra time.

Entering the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the U.S team won all three friendly "send-off" matches leading up to the competition: 2–0 over Azerbaijan, 2–1 over Turkey, and 2–1 over fellow World Cup participant and defending African champions Nigeria. They are currently led by Jürgen Klinsmann, who helped lead West Germany to victory in the 1990 World Cup and was the first player to score at least three goals in three consecutive World Cups.

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. Men's team won their first match against Ghana 2-1. Clint Dempsey scored in the first minute of the match giving the U.S. the early lead. Ghana did not respond until the 82nd minute scoring the equalizer goal. The U.S. then reclaimed the lead, thanks to John Brooks Jr. scoring the game winning goal just four minutes later in the 86th minute to regain the lead and take the match. The U.S. gained three points for their win and was off to a great start in "The Group of Death" claimed by critics for the teams the U.S. would have to go through (Germany, Ghana, and Portugal).

The second match of the FIFA World Cup for the U.S. team was a different story. Portugal claimed the early lead, scoring in the 5th minute to take the early 1-0 lead (Nani, 5'). It wasn't till the 64th minute till the U.S. scored the equalizing goal, thanks to Jermaine Jones, tying the match at 1 a piece. The U.S. then claimed the lead on a goal by Clint Dempsey again, scoring in the 81st minute to take a 2-1 lead. However, in the final minute of extra time, the world player of the year, Christiano Ronaldo drilled a perfect cross to teammate Silvestre Varela who headed in the tying goal, making the final score 2-2. The tie gave each team a point in the overall standings, bringing the U.S. to 4 points total, and gave Portugal their first point of the FIFA World Cup having lost their opening match to Germany 4-0. The U.S. claimed a spot in the knockout round in spite of a 1-0 loss to eventual champion Germany in their final group game due to them winning the tiebreaker with Portugal. However, they bowed out the tournament in the Round of 16 in a 2-1 loss to Belgium. Goalie Tim Howard helped the U.S. keep a 0-0 tie before two Belgian goals in extra time. The U.S. struck back with a goal by 19 year old phenom Julian Green but could not manage another goal.

U.S. women's national team

The women's national team has won two Women's World Cups in 1991 and 1999 (placing third in 1995, 2003, and 2007); the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996, 2004, 2008, and 2012; and seven Algarve Cups and six CONCACAF Women's Gold Cups.

The FIFA Women's World Cup was inaugurated in 1991, and the women's national team became the first team to win the prize after beating Norway in the final. That tournament helped demonstrate the high caliber of play in women's soccer. In 1999, the United States hosted the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time. During their tournament run, the women's national team established a new level of popularity for the women's game, culminating in a final against China that drew 90,185 fans, an all-time attendance record for a women's sports event, to a sold-out Rose Bowl. After neither team scored in regulation or extra time, the final went to a penalty shootout, which the United States won 5–4. The celebration by Brandi Chastain after she converted the winning penalty, in which she took off her shirt, revealing her sports bra in the process, is one of the more famous images in U.S. women's sports.

Youth national teams

U.S. Soccer Federation oversees and promotes the development of the following national youth teams:[8]

Headquarters and national training center

U.S. Soccer House is located in two refurbished mansions at 1801 South Prairie Avenue in Chicago, Illinois and serves as the headquarters for the U.S. Soccer Federation.[9]

In 2003, U.S. Soccer opened their National Training Center at StubHub Center in Carson, California. The $130 million facility includes a soccer-specific stadium, home to the MLS team Los Angeles Galaxy. Additionally, four grass soccer fields, a FieldTurf soccer field and a general training area are specifically dedicated to U.S. Soccer. Both the senior and youth men's and women's US national teams hold regular camps at StubHub Center.[10]

U.S. Soccer is also exploring a possibility of building the National Training and Coaching Development Center in the Kansas City area.[11]

Professional leagues

Despite the growth of men's and women's professional soccer in the United States in the last few decades, by far the largest category of soccer in the United States, at least in terms of participation, is boys and girls youth soccer. Though organized locally by organizations all over the United States, there are two main youth soccer organizations working nationwide through affiliated local associations. The American Youth Soccer Organization has more than 300,000 players between the ages of four and 19. This makes soccer one of the most played sports by children in the United States.


The professional first-division league in North America is Major League Soccer, which as of the current 2014 season has 16 teams in the U.S. and 3 in Canada. The league will expand to 21 teams with the addition of New York City FC and Orlando City SC in 2015.

The professional second-division league in the North America is the North American Soccer League (NASL). The current 2014 season is a split format (similar to that of many leagues in Latin America), and features 8 U.S. teams and 2 in Canada. An additional team from Puerto Rico played in the league's 2011 and 2012 seasons, but has suspended operations temporarily. Previously, the USL First Division operated as the professional second-division league in the United States. However, a dispute among its teams and ownership led to the creation of the NASL, which applied for second division status.

The United Soccer Leagues (USL) are a collection of five leagues spanning the lower divisions of men's professional soccer, as well as women's soccer and youth soccer. After the 2010 season, the USL folded its former First and Second Divisions into a new professional third-division league, USL Pro, that launched in 2011. At launch, it had 15 teams in all—11 on the U.S. mainland, three in Puerto Rico, and one in the Caribbean country of Antigua and Barbuda—but the Puerto Rican teams, plagued by ownership and economic issues, were soon dropped from the league. One mainland team folded after the 2011 season, leaving the league with 11 teams for the 2012 season.

A fourth-division league in the United States is the USL Premier Development League, which as of 2012 is expected to have 69 U.S. teams, nine Canadian teams, and one Bermudan team. Though the PDL does have some paid players, it also has many teams that are made up entirely or almost entirely of college soccer players who use the league as an opportunity to play competitive soccer in front of professional scouts during the summer, while retaining amateur status and NCAA eligibility. Another fourth-division league in the United States is the National Premier Soccer League.

In addition to MLS and the USL, the United States Adult Soccer Association governs amateur soccer competition for adults throughout the United States, which is effectively the amateur fifth-division of soccer in the United States. The USASA sanctions regional tournaments that allow entry into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest continuous national soccer competition in the United States. Since 1914, the competition has been open to all U.S. Soccer affiliated clubs, and currently pits teams from all five levels of the American soccer pyramid against each other each year, similarly to England's FA Cup.


Women's soccer in the United States has also been played at the professional level, but has not seen sustained success. The first two attempts at professional leagues lasted only three seasons each. The Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) was founded in 2001, but folded after its 2003 season. The second attempt, Women's Professional Soccer, was founded in 2009, with involvement from many former WUSA figures. WPS folded in May 2012 after having suspended its planned 2012 season. The champion of WPS' first season in 2009 was Sky Blue FC, out of the New York–New Jersey area. They defeated the Los Angeles Sol 1–0 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. WPS launched with seven teams, all based in the United States. The Sol folded after the league's inaugural season, and two new teams joined for 2010, bringing WPS to eight teams. However, the 2010 season saw considerable instability, with another charter team, Saint Louis Athletica, folding during the season, champions FC Gold Pride folding after the season, and the Chicago Red Stars deciding to regroup in the second-tier Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL). The 2011 season, in which six teams based along the East Coast played, was marked by low attendance for most of the season and conflict with Dan Borislow, who had purchased the former Washington Freedom, moved the team to South Florida, and renamed it magicJack. The dispute between WPS and Borislow led the league to suspend the magicJack franchise, with Borislow responding by suing. The legal battle led WPS to suspend its 2012 season, with hopes of returning in 2013, but WPS soon decided to fold completely.

On November 21, 2012, U.S. Soccer, in conjunction with the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) and Mexican Football Federation (FMF), announced the formation of a new professional league for the 2013 season.[12] The league, unnamed at the time of the initial announcement but later unveiled as the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), launched in April 2013 with eight teams.[12] Like WUSA and WPS, NWSL teams are privately owned, but in a departure from past league models, national federations are heavily involved in league financing and operations.[13] All three federations are paying salaries for many of their respective national team members. U.S. Soccer committed to funding up to 24 national team members, with the CSA committing to paying 16 players and FMF pledging support for at least 12 and possibly as many as 16.[13] This meant that each charter team was freed from having to pay salaries for up to seven players.[14] In addition, U.S. Soccer houses the new league's front office, and schedules matches to avoid any possible conflict with international tournaments.[13] NWSL teams are also generally playing in smaller stadiums and have fewer staffers than those in previous leagues.[13] U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati indicated that at the lower end of the salary scale, players would essentially be semi-professional.[14] Four of the league's charter teams have WPS ties—the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, a revived Sky Blue FC, and the Western New York Flash. The other four are in Kansas City, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., with the Portland team run by the Portland Timbers of MLS.[13] The NWSL expanded to nine teams for 2014 by adding the Houston Dash, run by the Houston Dynamo of MLS.

Affiliate members of the U.S. Soccer Federation

USSF recognizes the following affiliate members:[15]

Professional Council

Adult Council

Youth Council

Other affiliate members

Coaches and technical staff

Men's coaches
Level Name Notes
Senior Jürgen Klinsmann
Under-23 Martín Vásquez
Under-20 Tab Ramos
Under-18 Javier Perez
Under-17 Richie Williams
Under-15 John Hackworth
Under-14 Brian Johnson
Futsal Keith Tozer
Beach Eddie Soto
Women's coaches
Level Name Notes
Senior Jill Ellis
Under-23 Steve Swanson
Under-20 Michelle French
Under-18 April Heinrichs
Under-17 B. J. Snow
Under-15 Damon Nahas
Under-14 Jill Ellis
Technical Staff
Level Name Notes
Technical Director Jürgen Klinsmann
Youth Technical Director Tab Ramos
Technical Advisor Brian Johnson
Technical Advisor Carson Porter
Director of Scouting Tony Lepore
Director of Coaching Education Dave Chesler
Director of Youth National Teams Jim Moorhouse
Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs
Women's Youth Development Director Jill Ellis
Women's Head Development Coach April Kater


United States Soccer Federation (1974—present)

United States Soccer Football Association (until 1974)

  • James McGuire (1952–54 & 1971–1974)
  • Erwin Single (1969–71)
  • Bob Guelker (1967–69)
  • George Fishwick (1963–65)
  • Gene Ringsdorf (1961–63)
  • Jack Flamhaft (1959–61)

See also


  1. ^ "Celebrating 100 years of US soccer" at
  2. ^ US Soccer, Governance, Board of Directors,
  3. ^ U.S. Soccer, About, Organizational Structure,
  4. ^ Timeline. (2010-08-10). Retrieved on 2013-08-12.
  5. ^ Spalding's Official Soccer Football Guide 1914–15, p. 44
  6. ^ "U.S. Soccer: History". 
  7. ^ "October 10, 2009: Honduras 2–3 USA". 
  8. ^ "U.S. Soccer: Youth national teams". 
  9. ^ "Chicago: Home to U.S. Soccer House". 
  10. ^ "U.S. Under-17 MNT To Be First to Practice at National Training Center at The Home Depot Center Friday". June 5, 2003. 
  11. ^ "A home in Kansas? U.S. Soccer exploring new training center". April 5, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati Announces New Women's League to Begin Play in Spring of 2013" (Press release). United States Soccer Federation. November 21, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Carlisle, Jeff (November 21, 2012). "Hopes high for new women's soccer league". Soccer USA.  
  14. ^ a b "New soccer league to feature 8 teams".  
  15. ^ "U.S. Soccer Affiliates". 

External links

  • Official website
  • USA at FIFA site
  • USA at CONCACAF site
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