Takeaways from the 2021 U.S. Soccer budget, please

Beau Dure
Beau Dure
Feb 19 · 2 min read

Because doing taxes this time of year isn’t enough, it’s also time to take a look at the U.S. Soccer budget — a particularly harrowing exercise this year because the national teams have been idled or playing in front of empty houses due to COVID-19. And because people refuse to give up on their lawsuits or settle them.

The bottom line: U.S. Soccer expects to have just $22.6 million left from the $162 million it had a couple of years ago. The federation was prepared to spend that pile of assets down to $50 million. Things have changed, to say the least.

I’ve gone through the Annual General Meeting book of reports and added the numbers to my handy spreadsheet dating back to FY 2012. Here’s the damage …

Registration plummets: The federation brought in barely half ($3.06 million) of what it budgeted for FY 2021 before the pandemic. That’s not terribly alarming for the budget, though perhaps it’s not the best time for the periodic proposal from the AGM floor to slash registration fees.

The bigger worry is that this loss of revenue represents a loss of players. U.S. soccer (lowercase) has to hope they come back.

Sponsors get a break: One question looming through the pandemic year was whether sponsorship deals had escape clauses so that they wouldn’t have to pay quite as much if the national teams weren’t playing. The answer: The marketing/sponsorship line item was $34,204,742 from a budgeted $54,012,848.

The good news for the federation is that they nearly made up the difference by having fewer expenses for national team events. The bad news is that the budgeted revenue from those games — $29,389,700 — dropped to a tidy $0.

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Fought the law and the lawyers won: Outside legal fees in FY 2021 are projected at nearly $18 million, double what was budgeted and 12 times what it was in FY 2019. The accounting was a little different in FY 2020, with $3 million in the “outside legal fees” line item but nearly $16 million under “extraordinary legal expense.”

Market plunge: Remember when the stock market made that V shape last summer? That’s why the federation got $7.75 million less than budgeted from non-operating revenue.

If you browse through my spreadsheet, be careful if you’re comparing category to category. USSF accountants made my day difficult by reorganizing a few things.

Ranting Soccer Dad

A journalist, a dad, a ref and a coach walk into a blog …

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