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Volume 24 No. 240
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Missing World Cup Could Impact USSF's Bottom Line, Including Attracting New Sponsors

Missing the '18 FIFA World Cup will "affect the USSF's bottom line," according to Steven Goff of the WASHINGTON POST. The organization collected $10.5M from the '14 World Cup in Brazil -- $1.5M for participating and $9M for "advancing to the round of 16." Additionally, the "absence of a U.S. team at the most popular sporting event on the planet will make it difficult to attract" new sponsors. However, the USSF currently is "locked into long-term deals with many" of its partners (WASHINGTON POST, 10/12). YAHOO SPORTS' Henry Bushnell wrote the revenue gleaned from World Cup runs will "no longer fall into the federation’s bank account." Bushnell: "It’s also the exposure and brand-building opportunities that accompany the tournament every four years. How does USSF make up for that loss?" There have been "rumblings over the years about running back Copa America Centenario, or organizing a similar tournament that pits the U.S. against high-profile, non-CONCACAF opponents." Expect the USSF to "explore those possibilities with heightened interest now that there is nothing but Gold Cups, and perhaps a Confederations Cup," on its calendar between now and November '22 (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/11).

WHERE TO FROM HERE? USA TODAY's Martin Rogers writes the "start of a long hangover" began yesterday for the USMNT, and a "deeper look at the U.S. program and how to address the shortcomings" is needed. While the overall state of the game in America is "far more buoyant than at any other time, the national team has somehow snapped its own streak of seven straight World Cup appearances" (USA TODAY, 10/12). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Futterman & Robinson note the USSF "invests millions of dollars each year to increase participation and train coaches," and MLS franchises have in recent years "begun to open youth academies." But those efforts are a "pittance compared with what happens in so many countries." The U.S. has "failed to cultivate even a couple of true international stars over the years" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/12). CBS Sports Network's Adam Schein said, "If you are a great player, you go overseas. That's how it works. Look at Christian Pulisic -- he had to leave Hershey, Penn., and go play internationally" ("Time to Schein," CBSSN, 10/11). In Dallas, Dan Crooke writes the U.S. has "fantastic talent at the youth levels, but there's a lot of contact and experience missing in the formative years where a player hones technical skills that will help them realize their potential." The U.S. instead is "hoping sheer athleticism can put a band aid over those lost years" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/12). However, NBC Sports Bay Area's Greg Papa said, "I wonder with American youth pulling away from playing football if our better athletes will now start to play soccer more" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 10/11).

ADDRESSING THE ISSUES: In San Diego, Tom Krasovic writes while the NFL and MLB can claim to have the best "players in the world" in their respective sports, MLS "cannot claim to have the best soccer product in the world." Krasovic: "Not by a long shot." MLS has no "top-flight feeder program akin" to college football. The failure to qualify for the World Cup is a "reminder that when you’re truly competing with the rest of the world, as the NFL is not, the road traveled is riddled with potholes" (SANDIEGOUNIONTRIBUNE.com, 10/11). NBC SPORTS BAY AREA's Ray Ratto wrote the USMNT's "great failing has been in believing what it tells itself about itself, and it is as it has been for 40 years" (NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com, 10/11). In Colorado Springs, David Ramsey wrote the "age of American soccer" has "never arrived." After Tuesday night's "debacle," it is "starting to look as if it never will arrive" (GAZETTE.com, 10/11).

BRING ON THE BOOS: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman writes U.S. Soccer "claims to be all grown up now, brags about its league and its development academies, so it deserves the same skewering the world’s other teams would get if they got tossed from World Cup contention" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/12). CBSSN's Schein said, "It's garbage. It's unacceptable. It's embarrassing. It's pathetic. It's a total disaster" ("Time to Schein," CBSSN, 10/11). ESPN's Taylor Twellman: "It's the worst moment in U.S. Soccer history" ("SportsNation," ESPN, 10/11). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said America "cares just enough to get embarrassed" when the USMNT loses to a country like Trinidad & Tobago ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 10/11).