Tuesday’s soccer news starts with the latest rescheduling of a summer tournament. The Tokyo Olympics will move to next summer, with the International Olympic Committee making the announcement earlier today. Concacaf Men’s Olympic qualifying would’ve already been underway in Guadalajara. The USMNT U-23s would be playing Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic in Group A. With the official postponement of the Olympics, the timetable for qualifying shifts along with FIFA needing to confirm whether or not the age limit for squads resets.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” the International Olympic Committee statement read. “The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.”
Complicating things for club teams releasing players both for Concacaf qualifying and potentially the Olympics is next summer’s Gold Cup. For MLS, it’s even trickier with the European Championship and the Copa America now on the summer 2021 schedule. How teams and federations navigate that is an open question, with the confederation championships obligatory release windows. Concacaf qualifying and the Olympics aren’t, with clubs within their rights to keep players out of those competitions. That already happened with qualifying, with some MLS teams reportedly following Atlanta United’s lead in releasing players only when they have no choice.
Also in the soccer news, the United States Soccer Federation hired a new CEO. Former NFL Europe, MLS, and Soccer United Marketing executive Will Wilson takes the role vacated by Dan Flynn last September. Wilson’s recent work has been as an agent representing NFL players. In a letter to fans, Wilson addressed the issues facing the US Soccer Federation.
“In particular, I am excited to partner with new U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone,” Wilson wrote. “As a woman who has experienced the sport in the United States as a player, coach and administrator at all levels, she is uniquely positioned to provide insight and direction to meet the needs of all our stakeholders. We also must acknowledge the recent challenges the Federation is facing. Please know that we are focused on finding a resolution with our Women’s National Team so we can move forward together and continue to be a leader in advancing women’s soccer in the USA and around the world. Along with Cindy, this is one of our main priorities. By coming together, we can do so much more. And now is the time to unite so we can harness the spectacle of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which has the ability to catapult the sport to unmatched heights in the United States.”
Due to Wilson’s prior work with Major League Soccer and SUM, MLS commissioner and USSF board member Don Garber reportedly wasn’t involved in Wilson’s hiring. Garber released a statement following the announcement.
“I have known Will Wilson for quite some time. He is highly respected throughout the sports business industry and is the right person at the right time to help guide US Soccer. I have confidence that he will be a collaborative and thoughtful leader and a great partner with new U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone, as the Federation manages through a multitude of crucial issues and opportunities.”
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