Ranting Soccer Dad

Frank but fair conversations and occasional silliness about youth soccer.

November 29th, 2017    

RSD20: Mediating the NASL/USSF suit with Neil Morris

Neil Morris covers his local teams -- North Carolina FC and the North Carolina Courage -- for WRAL. His work includes a terrific podcast, the Inverted Triangle. In his day job, he's an attorney and mediator. 

So why not combine his areas of expertise and try to mediate the NASL/USSF lawsuit? We gave it a whirl, with Neil playing the role of mediator and your host flipping between the roles of NASL and USSF advocates.

The conversation starts around the 8:45 mark. We quickly explain what's going on in the real world with the lawsuit, and then Neil explains the mediation process. 

I present a hypothetical NASL offer, prompted by Neil's helpful questions and prodding, around the 25-minute mark. (Highlights: Cosmos owner on the USSF Board, drop divisional sanctioning OR give us D2 for a few years.) I give a hypothetical USSF counter at 43:45. We spend the last half-hour assessing our progress -- some promising ideas, but some roadblocks that even the most reasonable people may have difficulty eliminating. Uh oh.

 

November 15th, 2017    

RSD19: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Kyle Martino

A vote for Kyle Martino is actually a vote for a network of people that he believes can solve the problems in U.S. Soccer. He’s going to bring them together in early December to flesh out a “progress plan” that he outlines on his site.

He’s already hard at work building this consensus, and this interview has a few glitches because he was on the run as we chatted. He had to run at one point to do a live interview, and the phone connection dropped as he hopped from train to train.

The former MLS player and current (though on leave) NBC analyst grasps the complexities of the U.S. Soccer presidency for which he’s running. Like a couple of other candidates, he’s out talking with youth and adult constituencies to find out what they need. He has mixed feelings about the incumbent, Sunil Gulati, whom Martino firmly believes has run his course as president but still has a lot to offer U.S. Soccer. He’s shocked to hear how other candidates talk about Gulati, pointing out that the next president will have to work “symbiotically” with him as a FIFA Council member and World Cup bid organizer. (That’s all between the 14- and 18-minute marks.)

We talk specifically about women’s soccer -- in addition to our conversations about youth soccer, which is certainly not limited to boys -- at the 13:30 mark and the 28:00 mark and possibly a few other places. I did not get around to asking about the NWSL -- honestly, I haven’t thought of a question along those lines that I wouldn’t rather be asking NWSL owners.

November 8th, 2017    

RSD18: U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Mike Winograd

He doesn't have the name recognition of Eric Wynalda, he hasn't been in the U.S. Soccer inner circle like Carlos Cordeiro, and he hasn't been campaigning as long as Steve Gans. But Mike Winograd is an interesting candidate for the USSF presidency. He's a former player, he helped launch a pro club, and he's a lawyer who works on very big deals.

In our conversation (starting around the 10-minute mark after I ranted a bit about the NASL lawsuit and gave an overview of the presidential election), we talk about Winograd's background and his plans, which he outlined in a prior interview at GotSoccer. His basic mode of operation: He wants to get everyone on the same page -- or, as he puts it, rowing in the same direction.

Key quote: "U.S. Soccer should not be in the business of trying to ram things down people’s throats."

Particular points of interest: How to get the WNT and MNT equal or equivalent, depending on what each team wants (35:00), and addressing cost barriers in youth soccer (40:00).

November 1st, 2017    

RSD17: Adding tiers to the U.S. soccer cake, with NPSL’s Jef Thiffault

Jef Thiffault is the managing director for the NPSL, an elite amateur league that's been sometimes pulled into promotion/relegation discussions. But he used to work for MLS and SUM.

Mind blown yet?

It's actually an encouraging discussion that gives the impression that we have some smart people in U.S. soccer, toiling far away from the courtrooms and big-league boardrooms. And we might see a sea change in elite amateur competition that just might spill upward to the pros.

Interview begins around the 10:30 mark after I give a long introduction and rant a bit about the NASL and so forth.

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