Everyone Wants Power, Few Want Responsibility

When things started getting messy, when the pressure started rising, and when the amount of scrutiny reached never-before-seen levels, several US Soccer Board Members went public with a stunning admission: they admitted to not knowing the strategy US Soccer was employing against the USWNT in the most high profile case the Federation has ever faced. Of those who admitted to this was Vice President (at the time) Cindy Parlow Cone who has now succeeded Carlos Cordeiro as President of US Soccer.

Other US Soccer Board Members also went public with remarks admitting to not knowing the legal strategy employed against the USWNT as well as condemning the offensive language after the fact including Don Garber, Commissioner of MLS and CEO of Soccer United Marketing, and Chris Ahrens, Chair of the Athlete Council.

Chris Ahrens

Chris Kessell, a Board Member of the West Virginia Soccer Association, publicly asked on Twitter, “Since USSF Board members are claiming that they had no idea about the USWNT [legal] strategy, did anyone [on the Board] know how the Federation was going to position itself on any of its lawsuits?” He later went on to state, “We need every Board Member on record. Now!”

He has a point, and a very important one. Jen McFadden, Associate Director of the Yale School of Management, stated in response to Kessell, “They have a responsibility to know. If they didn’t, that’s even more cause for them to be removed.”

The US Soccer Board of Directors enjoy their perks. It is time for them to embrace their responsibility. Everyone wants power and access, but few want the responsibility and accountability that comes with positions of authority.

The bottom line remains: the negligence shown by the current US Soccer Board of Directors is alarming and an external review by an independent commission is necessary to review the processes, procedures, and policies that led to this debacle. This failure of leadership and oversight should not be tolerated, and Board Members should be held accountable.

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