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United States Soccer Federation
Association crest
Founded 1913
FIFA affiliation 1913
CONCACAF affiliation 1961
President Sunil Gulati

The United States Soccer Federation (also referred to as the USSF or, more commonly, U.S. Soccer) is the official governing body of the sport of soccer in the United States. Its headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois. It is a member of FIFA and is responsible for governing amateur and professional soccer, including the men's, women's, youth, futsal and Paralympic national teams. U.S. Soccer is also responsible for sanctioning referees and soccer tournaments for most soccer leagues in the United States.



What is now U.S. Soccer was originally the United States of America Foot Ball Association, formed on April 5, 1913 and on August 15th of that year became one of the earliest member organizations of FIFA. The governing body of the sport in the US did not have the word soccer in its name until 1945, when it became the United States Soccer Football Association. It did not drop the word football from its name until 1974, when it became the United States Soccer Federation.

United States Soccer Federation building on Prairie Avenue in Chicago

U.S. Soccer had the honor of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 1994, the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1999 and 2003, and the Summer Olympics in 1984 and 1996. The women's national team has also had the distinction of winning two Women's World Cups in 1991 and 1999 (placing third in 1995, 2003, and 2007); the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996, 2004, and 2008; and six Algarve Cups and six CONCACAF Women's Gold Cups.

The men's national team has had a less stellar history. It was invited to the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and qualified for the World Cup in 1934, finishing a respectable Third Place in 1930 out of 13 teams participating. In 1950 the U.S. scored one of its most surprising victories with a 1–0 win over heavily favored England, who were amongst the world's best sides at the time. The U.S. failed to reach another World Cup until an upstart team qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup with the "goal heard around the world" scored by Paul Caligiuri against Trinidad and Tobago, which started the modern era of soccer in the United States. The 1990 men's national team was quickly disposed of at the World Cup, but nonetheless had qualified for its first World Cup in 40 years. The FIFA Women's World Cup was inaugurated in 1991, and the women's national team became the first team to win the prize after beating Norway in the final. That tournament helped demonstrate the high caliber of play in women's soccer. It also set the stage for the U.S. to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup, setting total and average attendance records that still stand, including drawing 94,194 fans to the 1994 FIFA World Cup Final. The United States made a surprising run to the second round with a shocking victory over Colombia which saw Andrés Escobar, the player responsible for the United States' game-winning own goal, later shot to death in his homeland. 1998 saw another disappointing addition to the history of the men's national team as it finished 32nd out of the 32 teams that qualified for the World Cup. This embarrassment, which included a total collapse of team chemistry and leadership, led to the firing of manager Steve Sampson and the hiring of Bruce Arena, who had won the first two MLS Cups in Major League Soccer history, and who went on to become the most successful United States men's national team manager in history.

The next year, the U.S. hosted the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time. During their tournament run, the women's national team established a new level of popularity for the women's game, culminating in a final against China that drew 90,185 fans, an all-time attendance record for a women's sports event, to a sold-out Rose Bowl. After neither team scored in regulation or extra time, the final went to a penalty shootout, which the United States won 5–4. The celebration by Brandi Chastain after she converted the winning penalty, in which she took off her shirt, revealing her sports bra in the process, is one of the most famous images in the history of women's sports.

In 2002 Bruce Arena led a mix of veterans and MLS-seasoned youth to a quarterfinal appearance, dispatching contenders Portugal in group play and archrivals Mexico in the Round of 16, before losing a closely-fought game with eventual Runners-Up Germany in the quarterfinal. Bruce Arena looked to match or surpass that feat in 2006; however, the U.S. was drawn into a group of death with eventual Winners Italy and two other highly regarded teams in the Czech Republic and Ghana. The U.S. lost to the Czech Republic 3–0 in their opening game, drew Italy 1–1 in their second game (a match that saw two U.S. players and an Italian player red carded), and lost to Ghana 2–1. The United States did not advance out of the group, and in the wake of the team's disappointing performance, Arena's contract was not renewed. Bob Bradley, Chivas USA manager and Arena's assistant manager with the men's national team, eventually succeeded Arena in 2007.

The US Men's National Team qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, by virtue of its 3-2 road victory against CONCACAF rival Honduras on October 10, 2009. [1]

National Training Center

In 2003, U.S. Soccer opened their National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The $130 million facility includes a soccer-specific stadium, home to the MLS teams, Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. The facility is equipped with five full soccer fields (four grass and one artificial) for use by the MLS teams and U.S. Soccer. Both the senior and youth men's and women's United States National Teams hold camps at The Home Depot Center regularly.

Professional leagues

The professional first-division league in the United States is Major League Soccer, which has 14 teams in the U.S. and one in Canada, with expansion planned to bring the league to 18 teams by the 2011 season. The United Soccer Leagues are a collection of five leagues spanning the lower divisions of men's professional soccer, as well as women's soccer and youth soccer. The USL First Division is the professional second-division league in the United States and contains eight U.S. teams, two Canadian teams, and one Puerto Rican team, with two expansion teams planned for the 2010 season. The USL Second Division is the professional third-division league in the U.S. and contains eight U.S. teams and one team from Bermuda. The semi-professional fourth-division league in the United States is the USL Premier Development League, which has 62 U.S. teams and six Canadian teams, with two more expansion teams planned for the 2010 season. Though the PDL does have some paid players, it also has many teams that are made up entirely or almost entirely of college soccer players who use the league as an opportunity to play competitive soccer in front of professional scouts during the summer, while retaining amateur status and NCAA eligibility. In addition to MLS and the USL, the United States Adult Soccer Association governs amateur soccer competition for adults throughout the United States, which is effectively the amateur fifth-division of soccer in the United States. The USASA sanctions regional tournaments that allow entry into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the oldest continuous soccer competition in the United States. Since 1914, the competition has been open to all U.S. Soccer affiliated clubs, and currently pits teams from all five levels of the American soccer pyramid against each other each year, similarly to England's FA Cup.

Women's soccer in the United States is also played at the professional level. The professional first-division women's soccer league in the U.S. is Women's Professional Soccer, which began in 2009. The WPS inaugural season champion was Sky Blue FC, out of the New York–New Jersey area. They defeated the LA Sol 1–0 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The league is composed of seven teams, all based in the United States, with plans to expand to nine teams for the 2010 season. The USL's W-League is currently the women's semi-professional second-division league, which contains 30 U.S.-based teams and seven Canadian-based teams. This league serves roughly the same purpose for women's soccer as the USL's PDL serves for men's soccer, in that it allows collegiate players to maintain NCAA eligibility while continuing to develop their game against quality opponents. There is no equivalent to the U.S. Open Cup in the women's game currently.

Despite the growth of men's and women's professional soccer in the United States in the last few decades, by far the largest category of soccer in the United States, at least in terms of participation, is boys and girls youth soccer. Though organized locally by organizations all over the United States, there are two main youth soccer organizations working nationwide through affiliated local associations. The United States Youth Soccer Association boasts over three million players between the ages of five and 19, while American Youth Soccer Organization has more than 300,000 players between the ages of four and 19. This makes soccer one of the most played sports by children in the United States.

Associations affiliated with USSF


Adult level

  1. United States men's national soccer team
  2. United States women's national soccer team

Youth Teams

  1. United States U-23 men's national soccer team
  2. United States U-20 men's national soccer team
  3. United States U-17 men's national soccer team
  4. United States U-23 women's national soccer team
  5. United States U-20 women's national soccer team
  6. United States U-17 women's national soccer team

Leagues and Organizations

  1. Major League Soccer
  2. United Soccer Leagues
  3. United States Adult Soccer Association
  4. U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association
  5. United States Club Soccer

Youth level

  1. Super-20 League
  2. Super Y-League
  3. United States Youth Soccer Association
  4. American Youth Soccer Organization

Differently Abled Soccer

  1. United States Power Soccer Association (USPSA) The newest affiliate of USSF - for athletes who use powered wheelchairs to play power soccer

See also


External links


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