Today MLS Rumors put it up its much hyped “investigation” into to US Soccer. To call it laughable is an insult to humor. To call it stupid is an insult to stupid people. To even give this much attention is probably a mistake on my part, but I simply cannot let it go by. This is one of the single-most offensive, stupid pieces I’ve ever seen written on American soccer and additionally it includes outright racist sentiments.
Here we go:
Right away, the article, which purports to be about US Soccer, goes right into the usual Eurosnob arguments about why Bradley should never have been coach in the first place. That’s fine, I guess, but these comments could pretty much have been cut and pasted from anytime in 2007. Not a good start.
Next they copy a whole bunch of text from the American Soccer History Archives, who really ought to think twice about attaching its name to a screed such as this one. You’ll never believe this, but the author’s conclusion is that if only the organization that had closer links to England had won a 1912 (really!) power struggle, America would be a soccer power, we’d all spell color with a, “u,” there’d be a meat pie in every pot, etc, etc.
Anyone with a reasonably educated view of the sport knows that one of the things holding this sport back has been the excessive influence and deference to all things British. But for whichever unlabeled, (we’ll get to that later) pimply adolescent yearning for a unique and “authentic” identity, well they feel otherwise.
But anyway, back to the article itself, which at this point delves yet again back into the selection of Bradley as national team coach – which, if I may extend a simile here for a moment, has become to US Soccer fans what the 2000 disputed Presidential election became for folks on the left – a jumping off platform for some of the most crazy and lunatic theories to come through American soccer in a long time.
From everything I’ve read and ascertained about the 2007 decision, Klinsmann wanted control over virtually everything in US Soccer, to include even off-the-field items such as sponsorship. Now, as qualified as Klinsmann may have been to run the on-the-field side of US Soccer, he is completely unqualified to have any say in commercial matters. Klinsmann, like most European players has ZERO post-secondary education, and is qualified for two things – soccer, and apparently being a baker. Neither of those things is enough to warrant the kind of control he demanded out of US Soccer. Oh, and allow me to remind this author, who again remains anonymous, that in the world of soccer, there is at least one and probably two tournaments bigger in importance than the Copa America; 1) the European Championships, and 2) the Confederations Cup, which unlike the Copa America in most years, featured full-blown A-teams from all involved. But hey, it’s really easy to be wrong when you don’t have to put your name on it.
I digress yet again. Let’s return to the gibberish, or “article” to use the polite term.
Sigh… he/she/it is back to the Bradley/Klinsmann debate again. Whether you agree with Bradley or like his work (and goodness knows I’ve been conflicted on this), isn’t this all getting a bit hackneyed, and a bit old now? If I hear one more time about the Gold Cup being “our continental championship” and that it thus must be treated like the European Championships, I am going to puke. If Concacaf wants it to be like the Euros, it knows what it has to do, and that is make it once every four years, not once every two. Until then, we’ll treat the WCQ-year Gold Cup like what it is, a CONCACAF money grab.
I’ll give the (anonymous) author credit, he is successfully rehashing almost every Europoseur argument about US Soccer from the last four years. He might be stupid, racist (keep reading) and a coward (that anonymity again), but he is thorough.
I’ll quickly grant that I was with him on this prediction until Bradley completely and utterly outcoached del Bosque and Spain in that Confederations Cup match. That turned me around to a large degree.
But get ready folks, here is where things really come off the rails.
With regards to him having executive roles in both US Soccer and MLS, I’ll grant that it’s a problem and clear COI. But who does the author thinks sits on Confederation committees? It’s heads of federations. There is nothing out of the norm with Gulati, as the head of a major Concacaf federation, sitting on some Confederation boards. It’s how the governance of international sport tends to work.
Let’s break this bit down further:
Who says US Soccer funneling huge sums of cash to India? That’s not what is suggested at all. It looks like we’re going to sit on some conference calls, maybe have a meeting or two, and maybe send some coaches down there for a shmooze.
Wow, allow me to reel my jaw off the floor at the scale of such graft. Plus, if the child (no proof otherwise) who wrote this article has any sense of politics, he’d know that when you’re in the midst of bidding for the World Cup, it might help to get some allies on your side. Sure, India might not be a major “soccer” power, but it is a major economic one, and if this deal, as small as it seems to me, helps us host a World Cup, then it’s capital extremely well-spent. How would the author like us to bid for the World Cup, exactly? Presumably he’d like us to bid as England did and just stand there arrogantly and say to the world, “We’re the USA and that’s why you should give us the World Cup right now, harrumph.” Well, England lost the 2006 World Cup to Germany, just as we’d surely lose our bid if we followed suit.
Again, the lack of any understanding of politics or understanding of how to win a World Cup bid is galling here.
I have no idea what this is supposed to insinuate, do you?
That is quite simply the single most abhorrent and racist thing I have ever seen written about soccer. So, Sunil Gulati is in fact an agent provocateur from India here to destroy US Soccer from within. So the mere fact that Gulati is of Indian descent and that the region where his family is from is corrupt “explains” how this deal and Gulati himself must inherently be corrupt. This is like reading something from an Obama “birther” website. Did Gulati’s ethnicity probably assist in setting up this arrangement with the Indian FA? Probably, but to then then say that his heritage somehow explains the corruption somehow implicit in this deal is simply racism.
Name one example of a site or article that US Soccer has shut down. Otherwise you’re full of shit.
Now, I can speak with some authority on this matter, because I suspect unlike the anonymous individual writing the article, I’ve been credentialed for US Soccer events. Let me tell you, I’ve never once seen these terms that are being alleged by the author. Below this post, in blue, I have posted the terms that are explicitly posted on US Soccer’s media website. I will comment on them at a later time, but let me tell you that they are in fact more lenient of many new-media strategies like live-blogging and twitter than are many of governing bodies.
Well, I took a quick look at the US Soccer site and did not find the budget either. I did find some older business plan documents that include figures, but not the budget. Fair enough. As for the claim that “this is basic information which is available abroad about other national federations,” that doesn’t standup one bit. After searching the websites for the English FA, Irish (NIR) FA, Scottish FA, Welsh FA, Football Australia, New Zealand FA, South African FA and Football Association of Ireland (Rep. of Ire), I didn’t find a single one of their budgets either. So while it would be nice if the USSF opened its books a bit more, they appear to be in good company in not doing so.
So it appears that the author is now claiming that because a woman that they claim is a USSF press officer dresses well, has nice accessories, might make six-figures, and traveled in a limo or town car, it means that she is somehow an example of corruption. I do not know who that woman is, but I do know that filming and sliming a woman (who the cowardly author also does not identify) is a shocking display out of a web site purports to be taken seriously by American soccer.
Lots of people have nice clothes, lots of people make six figures, lots of people occasionally get into limos – none of this is evidence in the slightest of corruption. The single most corrupt thing I’ve seen so far has been the disgraceful ethics and lack of responsibility shown on the part of the cowardly anonymous author and the website that hosts his/her material. At no time does MLS Rumors show any evidence of the corruption that they slime this unidentified woman with. That is simply unacceptable.
I have been following MLS and American soccer closely since about 1997. For better or worse, I was first credentialed by MLS when I was in 8th grade, since then I have covered soccer as a professional journalist, freelancer, student journalist and now as a blogger – and in that time I have never seen anything published on the subject that is as blatantly racist, shoddily “reported” (and I use that term as loosely as possible), and just overall irresponsible as the piece I outline above. It’s quite frankly a disgrace. It reads like a screed from a fringey (either one) political message board. The site that hosts is has already pretty much been disavowed by any reasonably respectable media outlet as a source of any nonsense it gets it’s hands on. But publishing false transfer rumors are quite different than this piece of racist, sexist, likely slanderous crap that it published today. Every one of us who writes about soccer on the web today has been made to look worse by the article, and everyone is going to have to deal with the fallout as the site’s legions of teenage fanboys find all their mythologies validated.
Everyone out there knows that sports governance, especially in international sports like soccer is quite corrupt. I agree that US Soccer could do awful lot better in many spheres. I too would like to learn more about its workings and to try and impact positive change upon the organization. But one can either do that like an adult, through responsible journalism, investigation, and commentary, or one can do it like a child, using race-baiting, innuendo, and slander. Going the route of the latter, has done nothing whatsoever to advance any of the goals above. It’s probably pushed it in the opposite direction.
American soccer as a community is worse today because that article was published.
It’s too bad.
Finally, a note on anonymity.
My name is Aaron Charles Stollar. I live in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. I work for a large consulting firm in the area, I also write and blog for Bigsoccer.com and occasionally at twofoodiebrothers.wordpress.com. I am reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org, on twitter at @aaronstol, and on Facebook. That is who I am.
We don’t know who authored the article I talk about above because they themselves are too cowardly to come out and say so. There is no better definition of the word coward than that. I have, both as a pro and as a blogger, written some inflammatory articles both as a reporter and as a commentator. My name was attached to the article every single time. As a poster on BS, I’ve always been very open with who I was, until recently using a handle (aaronstol) that made it clear who I was, and then just changing it to my full name. Why did I always identify myself? Because to not do so 1) eliminates nearly any credibility you attempt to extend to your arguments, and 2) because I am a man, and in my mind, a man always identifies himself when making an opinion. To not do so is craven, soft, weak, immature, and just about any synonym you can think of for the word coward. Remember that the next time you read something posted anonymously, whether from that site or elsewhere. And please, the next time you’re bored at work and want a quick something to read – don’t go to MLS Rumors and give them the pleasure of a hit. Go to another site, any other site, as this article truly shows that they are not worthy of any of our traffic or our attention.
Appendix: Current US Soccer Media Policies.
Please note, I have redacted phone numbers and email addresses.