Fans Driving Change at USSF

How anger in 2017 compares with complacency in 1998

If you aren’t already aware, U.S. Soccer is going through some troubling times at the moment. In the aftermath of the game we shall not talk about, fans all over are calling for widespread changes.

At the center of it all is U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) President Sunil Gulati.

At this point, it’s safe to say that next-to-no one is comfortable with Gulati staying on as leader of soccer in America.┬áThe American Outlaws put out a statement and numerous other supporters groups and individual fans have done the same.

Now that doesn’t mean he won’t still try for re-election, but the steady drumbeat of fans calling for his tenure to end will all but seal his fate.

So what does all of this mean for fans?

Well right now, fans have an unprecedented voice when it comes to the direction of soccer in the United States.

Nearly 20 years ago, when the U.S. flamed out at the 1998 World Cup in dead last, the immediate reaction wasn’t anger and backlash. In fact, one of the headlines that ran after the U.S. was eliminated read, “U.S. exits World Cup with modicum of respect.”

Fast forward to now, and the headlines are completely different. Sports Illustrated wrote, “USA’s Haunting World Cup Qualifying Failure Emits Blame, Shock and Calls for Change.”

Right or wrong, the intensity of backlash after failure is a good indicator of overall growth. In 1998, fans were let down by the U.S. failing at the World Cup but that feeling pales in comparison to the feeling in 2017.

Supporter groups making public statements and casual fans calling for the heads of the top U.S. Soccer officials is proof that we now operate on the bigger stage of global soccer.

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