U.S. Soccer scales back USYNT program for rest of 2020, fires staff amid COVID-19
U.S. Soccer secretary general and CEO Will Wilson penned a letter to membership this week, addressing the shutdown of the Development Academy, the scaling back of the Youth National Teams and the firing of Federation staff members.
As the closure of the DA and the ensuing fallout stole most of the headlines this week, other key moves were made by the Federation. In the letter released Thursday, Wilson announced that no USYNT events will be held for the remainder of 2020, with the exception of any teams that are slated to be a part of Concacaf and FIFA competition.
In addition, several media outlets reported this week that U.S. Soccer has fired two executives: chief administrative officer Brian Remedi and chief talent and inclusion officer Tonya Wallach. According to the New York Times, the Federation fired other staffers as well, but did not confirm a headcount. Wilson noted on Thursday that he personally would be taking a 50% pay cut during the COVID-19 pandemic.
See below for the three main sections of the letter from Wilson, or Click Here to view the full message:
DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PROGRAM
We know that discontinuing our support of the Development Academy will have a significant impact across the elite youth soccer ecosystem. While the timing is difficult, unprecedented times required us to act now, and we are committed to doing as much as we can to assist during these extremely challenging times. It won’t be easy at first, but I’m confident we will find a way through it together.
At U.S. Soccer, we will also be looking at other ways to positively impact youth development moving forward, including an increased emphasis on coaching education, a more comprehensive scouting effort, and working with clubs to maintain and expand the philosophy and standards established through the Development Academies.
YOUTH NATIONAL TEAM PROGRAMMING
Since the pandemic hit, we have been scaling back our Youth National Team programming and will continue to do so for the balance of 2020, with the possible exception of those teams involved in actual competitions. Along with Concacaf and FIFA, we will continue to monitor the possible staging of those competitions relative to the changing global COVID-19 landscape.
STAFF LAYOFFS, FURLOUGHS AND PAY CUTS
The layoffs and furloughs were another challenging part of these decisions. Like all of you, these are people that have been incredibly dedicated and have contributed endless hours to help soccer grow in this country. This process also includes a few organizational changes I have made upon coming into my role. Additionally, I have decided to take a 50 percent pay cut during this period of economic uncertainty.
Finally, I know this has had a profound personal impact on all of us, and I want to express our gratitude to every single one of you for everything that you do each and every day for the good of the game.
At the same time, I ask you to join with us in looking towards the future with confidence and optimism. We are stronger together, and if we can stand side-by-side through these tough times there is much we can do to positively impact the sport and take it to new and unimagined heights.