U.S. Men’s Soccer Looks for a Turnaround After Failed World Cup Bid

  • 1986 was the last year the U.S. Men’s National Team didn’t make the World Cup
  • The U.S. Soccer Federation has a $149M surplus in its budget

You won’t be hearing “U.S.A” chants at your local bar during this year’s World Cup. The U.S. Men’s National team is not participating for the first time since 1986. As part of efforts to prevent this from happening again the U.S. Soccer Federation appointed Earnie Stewart as general manager of the men’s team. What’s at stake for the team’s contribution to the business of soccer in the U.S.?

Why This Matters: The U.S. Soccer Federation has grown into a sizable business over the past decade. The U.S. has a $149 million surplus according to its fiscal year 2017 financial statements. There have been multiple conversations about where the Federation should invest that cash. These areas have included capital investments in infrastructure like a dedicated national training center, youth development and new uses of technology to identify talent.

The U.S. will be under a magnifying glass in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and especially the 2026 World Cup which the U.S. is hosting. Another failure to qualify could dampen growth prospects for the $50 million in sponsorship that U.S. Soccer currently generates.

All eyes will be on Earnie Stewart to get the team on track. “We have a tremendous amount of young talent and passion in the U.S., and I’m ready to jump in, hire a new head coach and build a culture of success, with the ultimate goal of the U.S. Men’s National Team becoming a world champion," said Stewart, the former national team member during the announcement of his appointment.

Situational Awareness: The U.S. Women’s National team has won three World Cups yet has been unable to secure nearly the amount of financial benefit the men have. Players on the women’s team have earned about half the compensation as their male counterparts. For example, in 2015 Carli Lloyd earned $240,000 while Clint Dempsey made nearly $430,000. The women’s team recently agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with U.S. Soccer which ensures more equitable compensation for their work.

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