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United States Soccer Federation grievance proceeding ends with a favorable ruling for US Youth Soccer and its State Associations

February 2, 2010 09:00 PM
 
FRISCO, TEXAS (Feb. 3, 2010) - United States Soccer Federation (USSF) arbitrator has rejected the primary claims of US Club Soccer (USCS) and American Youth Soccer (AYSO) in the grievance they filed against US Youth Soccer the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA), the North Dakota Youth Soccer Association (NDYSA), the South Carolina Youth Soccer Association (SCYSA), the Tennessee State Soccer Association (TSSA), and the Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association (WYSA). The arbitrator rejected the grievance claims alleging that US Youth Soccer and the five US Youth Soccer State Associations had violated their duties as members of the Federation and were in violation of several Federation bylaws, rules and policies. The decision allows US Youth Soccer and its member State Associations to provide and retain benefits for only its members.
 
The dispute arose out of the claims of USCS and AYSO as to the rights and obligations of the parties as members of USSF. In short, they argued that benefits granted to US Youth Soccer members should also apply to non-US Youth Soccer members and that there were no violations of USSF bylaws, rules and policies.
 
"US Youth Soccer takes great pride in the numerous benefits of membership we offer to our more than three million youth players and over 900,000 volunteers and coaches," said Larry Monaco, president of US Youth Soccer. "This ruling maintains that these benefits apply to our member clubs and players and enhances our ability to provide all players opportunities for individual development in The Game for All Kids."
 
The arbitrator appointed to hear and render a decision in the grievance issued his 22-page decision yesterday evening, February 2, 2010. A copy of that decision can be found here.
 
In his decision of February 2, 2010, the arbitrator rejected the primary claims of US Club Soccer and AYSO, holding that:  
(1) the policy of US Youth Soccer and its member State Associations (and the current US Youth Soccer Travel Policy), that provide that US Youth Soccer Member Passes are only for use at games that are approved by US Youth Soccer or its member State Associations, does not violate any Federation bylaw, rule, or policy,

(2) the decision by certain State Associations to only purchase insurance coverage for their member players
when those players are participating in practices and games that are approved by US Youth Soccer or its member State Associations does not violate any Federation bylaw, rule, or policy, and

(3) there was no evidence that US Youth Soccer or any of the State Associations have any policies related to travel which impose an undue burden on their members' participation in US Club Soccer, AYSO, or any other non-US Youth Soccer events. 
 
In further explanation, the arbitrator stated, "the arbitrator finds nothing in the USSF bylaws, policies, or resolutions to support the proposition that Organization Members must afford the same benefits to their players or teams when participating in another organization's activities as apply when the player or team is playing within their own organization."
 
The arbitrator found that, contrary to the claims of US Club Soccer and AYSO, US Youth Soccer and its member State Associations "have gone to great lengths" to "make clear to their members" that the US Youth Soccer and State Association "insurance and player pass policies have neither the intent nor the effect of prohibiting members from participating in activities with non-US Youth Soccer members, and that their members are expressly permitted to participate in activities sponsored by non-US Youth Soccer members and to sponsor activities in which non-US Youth Soccer members may participate." 
 
The arbitrator specifically held that US Club Soccer and AYSO had not proven that the policies of MYSA, NDYSA, or WYSA violated any applicable Federation rules, and the challenges to those policies of those State Associations were all denied. The arbitrator also held that the alleged violations of SCYSA and TSSA concerning rules or policies that were no longer in effort or had been resolved, and rejected all claims against those 2 State Associations as moot. The arbitrator has required WYSA to issue communications to its members making it clear that they are free to compete in non-US Youth Soccer events. He also directed that, for international tournaments not a US Youth Soccer event, either the US Youth Soccer member pass or an alternative pass be issued, without additional cost.
 
US Club Soccer, AYSO, and the three member clubs of US Club Soccer have ten days to appeal the decision of the arbitrator to the Board of Directors of the USSF.
 
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer) – US Youth Soccer - "The Game for ALL Kids!®" is the largest youth sports organization in the country and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member State Associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit www.USYouthSoccer.org.
 
Media Request: When referring to the United States Youth Soccer Association, the largest youth sports organization in the United States, please refer to the association only as US Youth Soccer, and never as USYS or USYSA. We appreciate your cooperation.
 

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