(As seen on The First Eleven.)
After Barack Obama won his party’s nomination in 2008 he gave a speech to his supporters in which he said: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
This quote rings true for any who are discontent or seek change. But beyond just simply igniting a fire inside those who hear it, it is a resounding call to action.
During his final days in office, it has become a time to reflect on the last eight years. To ask if we are better off than we were before. To seek to understand what has changed. To discuss whether he was right when he said that in fact we are the ones we’ve waited for.
Well, instead of being posited political or philosophical musings, the question I’ve been asked numerous times over the last few weeks is, “What is American Soccer United?” This question, one I’m sure I will receive numerous more times well after this is published, is both incredibly simplistic and unanswerably complex.
If I had to answer simply, American Soccer United is a platform aimed at reforming the United States Soccer Federation.
What started as a conversation between two individuals jaded by American soccer became the formation of a 10-page reform document that has quickly snowballed into a growing organization. This organization, American Soccer United, is spearheading the outreach of reformations at the US Soccer Federation and is aiming to inject a new, rationalized passion into the conversation.
If you want the shortlist of what we personally believe must be addressed by US Soccer, here’s the petition that started all of this.
But anyone with access to the internet in America and a love for the beautiful game will surely have their own list of issues that should be addressed to better soccer in the States. There’s no wisdom in saying that our list is the end-all-be-all list. One of the beautiful parts of this movement is how open we are to debating the details.
But that has to make sense for us to be where we are now.
The most important tenant of this organization, besides pushing to make American soccer as successful as it can be, is to remain open to the various levels of debate this topic generates. Because regardless of what you believe, what’s undeniable is that there are many passionate and upset people approaching this conversation from every angle.
What you’re upset about could be as big as the women’s national team not being compensated fairly for the blood, sweat and tears they go through as they don the great red, white and blue year in, year out. It could be as small as your local club not receiving solidarity payments they’re owed when an old player signs their first professional contract. It could be completely out of left field, like the fact that there’s no way you can afford to travel to where you need to become a high-level, licensed coach.
Whatever your grievance is with the way American soccer is run, it needs to be heard, and not just by your friends and family on Facebook.
What American Soccer United is striving to do is to create a wide-spread platform for American soccer fans to express their discontent with the current state of soccer in this country, and to become the vehicle to make those changes happen.
Maybe you want to stick to spreading the message and elevating the level of debate on social media. Maybe you want to take a crack at articles like this to articulate your thoughts. Maybe you’re trying to get involved with on-the-ground coalition building and organizing. Maybe you already do something of the like and just want to get involved in this reform-based network.
Well, if any of that sounds like you, welcome to American Soccer United.
Because like Obama said in 2008, we are the change that we seek. But only if it’s truly what we seek.
Calling for reform is great, but to actually enact meaningful change there must be a cohesive and coordinated effort to push for it. Your platform is here.
Your voice can be heard. Your efforts can make a difference. Your American soccer future starts now.
That is, if all of us who watch the developing American soccer scene unhappily are willing and able to stand together. We must truly become a front that stands up and presents American Soccer in its United power.
If anything you’ve read here speaks to you, reach out to us. If you think we’re a bunch of loons peddling a load of crap, that’s great! Reach out to us and let’s talk about it.
For the time being, ask yourself what you’d change about American soccer if you could. Think about how you’d make that happen. And then come to us for some help. Together we can build a better American soccer landscape.
You can reach us through our social media accounts or by emailing AmericanSoccerUnited@gmail.com.