Statement from Duluth FC Staff

Together with the entire American soccer fan-base, Duluth FC also laments that the 2018 World Cup in Russia will take place without the participation of our men’s national team. It is truly heartbreaking for all players, coaches, administrators and supporters.

We feel strongly that neither the loss of the match away at Trinidad and Tobago nor the failure of the men’s national team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup are the actual problem. These two are simply the gravest symptoms of a much greater issue. Many stakeholders have identified problems in the functionality of soccer structures in our country, but for many years they have been ignored.

Therefore, this experience on Tuesday evening must serve for us as an awakening to an immediate need for drastic changes. We stand together with the many other entities and individuals who feel strongly that the leadership of our United States Soccer Federation should change. The new leaders of the USSF should thoughtfully, methodically, transparently and expeditiously address the severe inefficiencies in youth development, structure of professional and amateur leagues, coach and referee advancement. All of the changes, however, must be pursued to serve and advance the sport of soccer for its own merits. Above all matters the USSF must serve in equal measure every club and league in an open structure that encourages and rewards clubs based on their record in competition. While setting financial and operational standards is absolutely necessary, they must be reasonable and attainable by all types of clubs to ensure that set standards are not effectually forms of protectionism for very few and selective ownership models or groups. The closed model system of competition practiced thus far in the USA essentially denies most American cities and communities of the hope for advancement to the top of the pyramid of competition in our sport.

While this experience is certainly a setback, Duluth FC staff feel confident that the trajectory of our sport in our country will to continue to rise. We will continue to work as hard as we can as ambassadors for the beautiful game by improving every aspect of our club operations season after season, as members of National Premier Soccer League within the structures of the United States Soccer Federation.

We hope and trust that rational discernment will prevail in the current leadership to allow the sport to advance with new leaders at the helm. All of us at Duluth FC stand ready to participate in the improvement of our functionality as well as the return of our men’s national team to times of genuine competitive advancement.

Yours in soccer,

Duluth FC Staff.