April Heinrichs and Jill Ellis have a big, big job ahead of them. The next 90 days will give us a hint of what their tenure will be like.
Will they be timid and mere figureheads or will they spark a revolution.
Women’s football in USA is facing challenges which need immediate attention.
Womenâ€™s football infrastructure, outside of universities, does not exist. The technical abilities of our youth players are sub par.
Tactically we are naÃ¯ve. There is no national strategy or structure for player development.
Winning the womenâ€™s world cup is an event which sometimes benefits the winning nation, as it did Norway, a nation of only 5 million people, in 1993. Germany benefited from winning in 2003 and 2007. Both nations used their success as a springboard to strengthen their leagues, clubs, programs and structures.
Post 1999, the US did not.
Womenâ€™s football in the US does not suffer from lack of money and interest, it suffers from lack of ideas.
Today, there still are two major global leaders in womenâ€™s football: USA and Germany, but only one of them reacted to the success of the FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup 11 years ago, and with it the commercial possibilities demonstrated, by exploring every possible way of maximizing that potential.
The 1999 success actually damaged the US by making the USSF complacent. On the other side of the Atlantic it demonstrated to Germany (and also the UEFA and FIFA) what womenâ€™s football can become.
In 1999 the German FA developed a long term plan for growing the womenâ€™s game sportingly, commercially.
From the beginning the Germans understood that building long term success, interest in the game, and fan loyalty, begins with a national, comprehensive, long term strategy. In Germany there is a balance that benefits both the Frauen Bundesliga and the national team. What is the USSFâ€™s vision for womenâ€™s football?
In the US, the commercial success of 1994 and 1999 has not translated into investment in the womenâ€™s game.
As I have stated before, the USSF is failing in its fiduciary responsibility of developing womenâ€™s football in USA. The federationâ€™s lack of long term strategic planning has been clear to all who care to see it for a decade now.
The success of 1999 has blinded everyone to an international process where all important nations are gaining ground on the USA.
The success of 1999 has, in a perverse way, damaged us.
Womenâ€™s football, in terms of marketing, commercial potential, and player development, essentially is a 21st century phenomena but the USSF uses 20th-century methods trying to solve these challenges.
Womenâ€™s football will continue, and it will continue to grow internationally, and unless the USSF reforms, unless Heinrichs and Ellis are given real power to envision and implement changes, our international standing will suffer for generations to come.