U.S. Soccer has been flush with cash for years, but last year's Copa America Centenario was a boon for the federation. They brought in $46 million from the tournament and, according to SI, are now sitting on a surplus of more than $100 million.
The federation is reportedly considering building a dedicated training ground, which would eat up a chunk of that surplus, but that wouldn't be an especially wise use of funds. Of all the things that the sport (and the national teams) needs in this country, quality facilities are not one of them.
What could they spend that surplus on, though?
Hire more scouts
The men's side has nine scouts. Total.
That's how many people are charged with finding talent all around the country. To say that's inadequate is putting it very mildly. The women's side doesn't have enough scouts either. There are tons of talented American players around the country who are never found. Change that.
Getty ImagesDan Mullan
Build fields in communities across the country
This is long overdue and one the federation should hop on immediately. One of the big problems for soccer in this country is it's not always easy to get a game because field space is at a premium. That's especially true in urban communities, where the U.S. has long struggled to develop, nurture and unearth players.
It's not as if kids around the country all need to be playing on full fields. Building anywhere for kids to play the sport, especially in underserved communities, needs to be a priority. Make them futsal courts, places more suited to 7v7 or even full fields. Just make sure kids can play because the biggest thing for developing talent is getting young players as many touches as possible.
Get. Them. Playing.
Build. Them. Fields.
Jaime ValdezJaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Pour more money into the development academies
The Development Academy was created to be the best system for talent development this country has ever seen and it's been exactly that. But as good as its been, it's not perfect, and one of its problems is that it can still be expensive for players and their families. Whether it's subsidizing the system even further, offering more scholarships or any other mechanism, U.S. Soccer needs to do it. They have a nice young system -- make it even better.
And this doesn't just apply to the boys. The girls' program is getting off the ground now and needs all the funding it can get too.
Make coaching licenses more accessible
U.S. Soccer's coaching licenses have grown over the last decade, and by all accounts they are good programs that help raise the level of coaching across the country and age levels. The problem is that they are pricey and not always easy to get done.
Considering how important coaching is, across genders and age groups, pouring money into the license program to make them cheaper and easier, while still properly instructing, should be a priority for everyone.
Paul FrederiksenUSA TODAY Sports
Lower ticket prices
Ticket prices have been going up steadily for years. As the national teams have gotten more popular, tickets have begun to cost more. That has backfired some of late as attendance has lagged for the men, but with the federation now running a giant surplus, there's a great opportunity to cut prices and give the fans a little back. That'll help make for bigger crowds and better atmospheres, while also easing the burden on fans, who often have to already travel to get to the many matches across the country.
Now is a great chance to help the fans out and make sure they're not paying more than $50 for a supporters section ticket when the federation is so flush.