Kate Markgraf Has Plenty Of Work Ahead As First USWNT GM
The U.S. Soccer Federation has hired ESPN's Kate Markgraf for the newly created role of GM of the USWNT, and her "plate will be overflowing" when she officially begins the job, according to Paul Kennedy of SOCCER AMERICA. Markgraf will have to "hire a replacement" for former coach Jill Ellis, and "oversee a women's national team currently involved in litigation with the federation that's become a national political issue." She will also have to oversee the "management of all the youth national teams on the women's side, filling a string of vacancies." Additionally, Markgraf must "lead the creation of what U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro termed 'Vision 2027,' the vision for the future of the program." Cordeiro said she will be "central to the discussion" of the U.S. bid to host the '27 FIFA Women’s World Cup (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 8/13). PRO SOCCER USA's Julia Poe wrote Markgraf was the USSF's "top pick" for the job "from the beginning" of the search (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 8/12). Poe noted the GM position is "new for the U.S. national teams." Cordeiro announced the roles for the men’s and women’s teams in February '18, and Earnie Stewart was "hired four months later in June for the men’s job, while the women’s vacancy remained open" (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 8/12).
MOVING UP: PRO SOCCER USA's Pardeep Cattry noted Stewart has been promoted and will "take on the role of the federation’s first sporting director, head of the newly-launched Sports Performance Department." The move comes as the federation "continues structural changes that were called for after the men’s national team failed to qualify" for the '18 World Cup. As sporting director, Stewart is "essentially the leader of the federation’s soccer operation." Stewart will report to U.S. Soccer’s CEO, who is "for now the retiring Dan Flynn." The GMs of both the women’s national team and the men’s national team "will report to Stewart" (PROSOCCERUSA.com, 8/12).
TAKING THE REINS: SI.com's Grant Wahl wrote the "big question mark looming over all of this" is who will be the next CEO, the "most important day-to-day position in U.S. Soccer." From a "conflict-of-interest perspective, there’s no way" that USSF Chief Commercial & Strategy Officer Jay Berhalter "should become the next CEO." The role of "hiring and firing coaches will be down to the GMs and the sporting director," who "reports to the CEO." Wahl: "Can you imagine someday Stewart and the next MNT GM telling CEO Jay Berhalter they want to fire his brother, MNT coach Gregg Berhalter?" U.S. Soccer "needs to go outside the federation to hire the next CEO, even though word has sifted out that few outside candidates are even interested in the CEO spot since the organization is currently involved in lawsuits" with the USWNT players, Hope Solo, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Relevent Sports and the NASL. Given the "reputation that the federation continues to have about gender issues, all other things being equal," the new CEO "should be a woman" (SI.com, 8/12).