Please stop making sense. This is not the forum for rational thought. I say burn it all down and spend all of our resources on rec leagues and HS soccer, just like they do in all the great soccer powers. Vast sums of money and resources will assuredly flow into the game once we obliterate the only pro and youth leagues and clubs that have ever managed to remain afloat and develop anyone of consequence. The soccer revolution is coming! Power to the people!@SPChamp1, I think you are missing a few key elements. Let's take a step back.
Powers and Limitations of USSF
The USSF is the National Governing Body for soccer under the U.S. Olympic Committee. The USSF has to both comply with the USOC law (Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act) and the IRS Rules f
or non-profits (its a 501(c)(3)). The USOC law dictates certain things like "athlete representation" and the IRS rules dictate that it cannot engage in certain activities without violating its non-profit status. On top of this, the USSF also is a representative member of FIFA and must abide by the FIFA bylaws.
The USSF, pursuant (in part) to the Ted Stevens law has various "councils" that are voting members. These councils are broken into 4 power groups. Athletes Council (required under the law); Pro Council (required if you want the money guys to support the federation); Adult Council (2nd largest from a delegate stand point); and Youth Council (largest number of delegates).
At the end of the day, however, delegates don't matter because votes are weighted to give near equal weight to each of the councils.
The Federation, as a non-profit, isn't suppose to engage in "for-profit" activities (its violates the non-profit law). While its receives money in the form of "membership" fees from its various council members, the lions share of its revenues come from the USMNT and USWNT ($30M in FY 2017) and the monies generated from licensing ($49M). The membership fees are really pathetic:
Youth = $4.1 M
Referee = $3.1 M
Pro = $1.2 M
Amateur = $500k
Coach = $1.1 M
The MLS, USL, NWSL, are separate "for profit" entities that are members of the USSF through the various councils, BUT the USSF is not a shareholder/member or have any other management say.
If the USSF attempted to mandate to the MLS or USL that they must implement Pro/Rel, these leagues have two options (1) comply with the suggestion; or (2) say no thanks well just drop out of the USSF and give up our seats on the Adult and Pro Councils, and while we are at it ... you can't have any of our athletes for your National Team (Hockey just did this for this years Olympic cycle).
When it comes to the youth Council (AYSO, US Youth Soccer (Cal South), US Club, etc.), they are the groups that bring in the youth membership funds and are the groups mandated under the USSF Bylaws to effect change in the youth soccer world. Everything youth related flows through these non-profit organizations, except for two things (1) the Youth National Team and (2) the operation of the DA league (not, its just a league ... the clubs participating are all their own non-profits).
Pay-to-play is the funding source for the clubs that play in the various youth soccer associations. The USSF doesn't not receive these funds, except a very small portion ($1 per player) earmarked as membership fees. The cool thing about charging just $1 per youth players tells us in Fiscal 2017 that 4.1M youth players actually contributed their $1 to the Federation.
Editorial - is anybody surprised, shocked, dismayed that only 1 freaking dollar of their $1,500 to $3,000 in "club" fees goes to the federation? Follow up, what should the federation do with that dollar?
MLS is a Closed Entity / Pyramid Scheme
The MLS is not a "league" like we have seen before at the professional level. The MLS is an LLC where each member (owner) owns a percentage and is given the right to operate an MLS team in a particular region. The players are allocated to the team by the MLS and paid by the MLS (not the team). The MLS do date, has been breaking even so making a small profit through SUM (soccer united marketing), but has yet to see real success. It makes about $60M per year under its TV deal. Compare this to the NFL, where the league is an association of independant franchisees. Each franchise is its own legal entity and competes against the other franchises under the league rules. The NFL's annual TV deal pays it roughly $3 billion per year.
Youth Club Have No Outside Revenue Incentives
Because the MLS and Professional Players view the payment of solidarity and training fees to youth clubs as taking away from their pockets, the MLS and Professional Player have objected to the USSF administering these payments.
The sole funding source for the vast majority of youth soccer is parents.
The DA - MLS - Youth Connection
The federation and MLS recognized P2P creates barriers for some elite talent so are undertaking a strategy to create fully-funded DA Academies.
The obligation to fund these programs is not the USSF, but the clubs. After all the USSF only receives about $4.1M in youth fees.
There are two groups of DA clubs. MLS affiliates and non-MLS affiliates. The economic incentive is different for each group. The MLS affiliates, pursuant to the MLS rules are able to identify "Homegrown" players and get some cap relief for their homegrown players, which is the current incentive. The non-MLS academy teams are nothing more than marketing ploys. Clubs like Surf, Strikers, Arsenal, Legends, etc., have DA teams that are used as part of their training pyramid. Join our Flight 3 team as a U9 and your kid could move up the ranks to the DA team, which is partially to fully funded. These clubs/teams subsidize their DA programs on the backs of the non-DA teams.
Ultimately, the goal is eliminate P2P for the super-elite players (.5% to 1%), but P2P will always exist for the rest of the players.
The USSF's only role here is the creation of a league with rules that require the independent clubs/teams (where the money is) to abide by certain training rules.
With all of that said, the MLS is a major impediment to making real change. Until another league with the financial backing can threaten its position and provide the USSF a genuine alternative, the US Soccer landscape will not change.
The good news is, however, that European clubs have an eye on the US and appreciate that there is significant talent potential.
As long as we have enough Nationals playing oversees at young enough ages, our National teams will improve.