Family Business

I just got done watching Jermaine Jones’ epic Instagram rant against MLS and their close relationship with the USSF, and the main point that he tried to get across to everyone was “if you see something that doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t seem to add up, speak out against it.”

Jermaine Jones is a guy who played for 11 different clubs in his 18-year pro playing career. He’s someone who I’ve followed (and covered) dating back to his days at Schalke when there were talks of him potentially switching from Germany to The United States because of a falling out with the coach… or federation… I don’t remember which, because the incredibly-talented CDM who made 69 appearances and always came up clutch for the Stars and Stripes seemed to usually having a falling out with someone.

Not that it’s always a bad thing… some might call him outspoken, others might call him passionate.

One thing he seemed genuinely passionate about tonight after his first IG Live post caused more than a few ripples the first time around back in October, was the huge problem that United States soccer fans are seemingly ignoring: USSF’s close relationship with Major League Soccer.

Let’s ignore Pro/Rel, whether we need more players in Europe, Cyle Larin transfer fees and normal soccer banter over the past 4 months and jump straight to the point….

Kathy Carter will more than likely be elected as the next US Soccer Federation’s president, and what ultimately pushed her over the edge were votes from the athlete’s council, as many have Tweeted about and speculated.

Hope Solo Tweeted Julie Foudy two days ago, asking her if she organized a call with “select” athletes.

So did you not organize a call last week with select, but not all, former players as well as current players and athlete council members advocating for the status-quo Kathy Carter?

Which Foudy replied:

I did organize call. But wasn’t to talk about candidates. Sorry to disappoint. It was about the power of the athletes council. And how to best utilize that power.

Well it appears that they are fully utilizing that power, because many believe that the call was to “suggest” that current and ex-athletes would be better off (professionally) with Carter as their vote for President. Kathy Carter has a close relationship with Wasserman Media Group, which many also believe have been using political influence to persuade voters to choose Carter.

It’s fair to say that Wasserman Media Group has a strong political influence in the soccer community, and despite whatever went down on that call, it’s becoming apparent that it’s very likely that Wasserman is putting pressure on others to vote for Carter. Many believe that a call went down, and thanks to Julie herself confirming it (we’re not saying Foudy is involved, Foudy isn’t a Wasserman client, but the agency does represent a number of on-air personalities and television is something Wasserman is very involved in) I believe that it’s now on them to provide the notes from the call, and provide “transparency” and “change” and “leadership” and all of those other annoying buzzwords floating around campaigns that make you want to throw your phone in the closest container holding a liquid.

Oh, and Wasserman also represents Bruce Arena.

Yes, seriously, Bruce Arena.

bruce arena

So when Jermaine Jones says that MLS is the problem, and you start remembering comments from Coach Arena during qualifying  “I’d like to see some of those European hotshots come over here and try to qualify in CONCACAF” and leaving Fabian Johnson off of the roster, continually suggest that MLS players are our best option, and rely on players like Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore and a host of other MLS veterans (I’m not going to the work of researching what agent represents every USMNT player, but I’m sure there are some from Wasserman) and it makes you wonder….does the USSF have US Soccer’s best interest at heart, or do they have MLS’s best interests at heart?

Is ANY OF THIS going to make us a stronger soccer country? Or are we going to turn into a country like Argentina where Messi was willing to retire from the National Team because of the politics and corruption involved in his country’s Federation?

As if it’s not a bitter enough pill to swallow that an “independent commission to review US Soccer” would be lead by a sports agent which represents the higher majority of MLS players and has numerous ties to television, events like the Olympics and a World Cup bid, etc. but you also look at known facts like:

We mentioned in a Tweet that I have spoken to an attorney who is familiar with the USSF Presidential campaign about how USSF could lose their tax-exempt status if Carter was voted as the next USSF president. While this is simply a hypothetical, I believe it still raises the OBVIOUS question of “conflict of interest”.

So if Wasserman is the new chief wahoo of this new “commission” to change US Soccer, and if I sound skeptical of the likelihood that this commission will actually yield any results on how to produce the next Neymar than I assure you, they are genuine, then where does the pencil thin – wait, no, I meant extremely thick, big ol’ magic marker-sized- line of “conflict of interest” come into play?

-Sports agent takes over as head of commission.

-Sports agent’s players benefit monetarily….NOT as a result of Wasserman’s involvement, I’m not painting conspiracy theories, but I’m just saying that over time, like every other athlete, they become more marketable, they’re getting higher contract offers,etc.

-Sports agent, who is now involved with USSF, makes more money as a result, so how is that not a conflict of interest?

But here’s the thing that someone with a lot clearer understanding of how IRS and tax-exempt laws work than I do pointed out. USSF is setup as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit, and according to the IRS:

A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization.

Once again, this is all copy and paste on my end, I am not a lawyer and I have no idea where that thick, 200pixel-wide line of “conflict of interest” is crossed… I’m just listening to Jermaine Jones and speaking out if something doesn’t add up, and all of this just doesn’t add up for me.