Sport How the Proposed European Super League's Waves Could Be Felt in U.S. Soccer
U.S. Soccer implementing new concussion substitution rule in MLS, NWSL
U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that it will be implementing a new concussion substitution rule aimed at further protecting players who suffer head injuries during games. The new rule separates concussion substitutions from other substitutions, and prevents a team from being penalized for removing a player due to a potential head injury. A team can now make two substitutions for players who have left the game due to head injuries, regardless of the total number of substitutions it has already made. Teams typically have three total substitutions, which has been increased to five due to COVID-19.
As the European game gets rocked to its core by the proposed Super League, its ripple effects could go well beyond UEFA's realm if plans and threats are carried out to fruition.
It now feels like the before times, but it was only two days ago, Saturday, that U.S. soccer fans celebrated. Barcelona thumped Athletic Bilbao, 4-0, and photos of Dest with the trophy, , were shared throughout the American soccer community. Dest became the first U.S. international to win the tournament that was first contested 118 years ago.
And that was just the beginning of the history that’s now happening, or on the verge of happening, for a number of American players in Europe. Christian Pulisic helped Chelsea seal a second straight berth in the FA Cup final, also on Saturday, defeating his U.S. teammate, goalkeeper Zack Steffen, and Manchester City. There’s a consolation prize for Steffen, however. He’ll likely start England’s League Cup final on Sunday, and he’ll almost certainly be lifting the Premier League trophy at the end of the season (if Manchester City isn't spectacularly booted from the competition first).
USWNT will proceed on equal pay appeal with working conditions settlement officially approved
The path is clear for USWNT players to proceed with their appeal on equal pay now that the working conditions settlement between the USWNT and U.S. Soccer Federation was approved by a court on Monday. Molly Levinson, a spokeswoman for the USWNT players, said in a statement the group intends to appeal the judge's May 2020 dismissal of the equal pay claims. The #USWNT's settlement with U.S. Soccer over working conditions has been approved by the court. That means that the team can now proceed with its appeal on equal pay. As you'll recall a judge dismissed their equal pay claims in May 2020, but the USWNT vowed to appeal. pic.twitter.
Oh and by the way, both Pulisic and Steffen are still in contention to win the UEFA Champions League as well (if Chelsea and Man City aren’t).
Meanwhile, although Juventus’s nine-year grip on the Serie A crown may be loosening, the Bianconeri and their American midfielder,, are scheduled to contest the Coppa Italia final on May 19. And that’s not all. More U.S. internationals like Bryan Reynolds, Giovanni Reyna, Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah, Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie are still in contention for significant honors over the next few weeks. It’s a watershed season, a moment unlikely any that we’ve seen in the history of U.S. soccer.
Report: Top European Clubs Agree to Super League That Would Rival Champions League
Liverpool, Manchester United, Barça and Real Madrid are among the teams who have agreed to join a super league in 2022 that would rival the UEFA Champions League. A group made up of the biggest soccer clubs in Spain, England and Italy has agreed to join a breakaway league that has the potential to change the landscape of world soccer, according to The New York Times. So far, 12 teams have reportedly endorsed or signed up for the super league, including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid from Spain; Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham from England; and Juventus, A.C.
It took a long time, many years of fits and starts and of players going abroad to small teams in modest or unwelcome environments, to reach this point. The U.S. national team that will commence World Cup qualifying this September is anchored by a cohort of young, talented players with the sort of top-tier professional seasoning and experience that seemed unlikely, if not impossible, only a few years ago. And now, just as Americans are starting to find their footing at the sport’s biggest clubs, an earthquake threatens to shatter the structure on which they stand.
The ripples from Sunday night’smay turn out to be tidal waves. And those waves very well could reach U.S. shores, which may be fair and fitting considering the level of American involvement in the controversial venture. The Super League, to which 12 English, Spanish and Italian clubs have signed on as permanent members, will be underwritten by a U.S. bank and will feature three teams (Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United) with U.S. owners.
Opinion: US owners find American-style greed doesn't play well in European soccer
Two days after it was announced, the 12-team Super League is collapsing collapse after several clubs announced they are withdrawing.It’s one thing to be greedy. It’s quite another to be so blatantly obvious about it.
They’ve signaled their intention to go to war with the football powers that be. They’ve also signaled their willingness to accept the consequences of that war and the potential obliteration of the organization that’s underpinned the sport for decades. Ultimately, this showdown between the 12 breakaway clubs (with 20 planned) and the governing bodies will become a global game of chicken. To what extent will FIFA and UEFA go to protect their dominion over the sport? If they go all the way, as they’ve already threatened to do, the U.S. national team could be caught in the crossfire. The first four players mentioned here—Dest, Pulisic, Steffen and McKennie—play for Super League clubs. If those clubs are expelled from soccer’s competitive structure, there may be an effort to ban those four from wearing a U.S. jersey.
Video: What's New in MLS in 2021 (Sports Illustrated)
For years, American fans, coaches and administrators longed for the day when U.S. players might be competing at the Champions Level. Now, because of the hubris and greed at some of those clubs, that progress could cost the USA just as it was prepared to benefit.
The Importance of Seizing on the Post-Super League Moment
The backlash to the Super League was definitive and demonstrable, but that doesn't mean all is well. What happens next will dictate the future of the sport. The war has been won, and decisively so. Football, for now, remains more than content produced to enrich club owners. The scenes outside Stamford Bridge as word swept a demonstrating crowd that Chelsea had withdrawn from the Super League will not quickly be forgotten, and neither will the shambling, tone-deaf apology from Liverpool owner John Henry.
Nobody on this side of the world is speaking on the record at the moment. The U.S. Soccer Federation and Concacaf are waiting to gather more information and to see where the first battle lines are drawn. But, when there was considerable Super League noise, still stands. It was signed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the presidents of each of the six continental confederations.
“Any club or player involved in such a [breakaway] competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organized by FIFA or their respective confederation,” it read, in part.
It’s understood that Concacaf and its president, Victor Montagliani of Canada, remain firmly in FIFA and UEFA’s corner and likely will support any sanction that protects the integrity of the current governing and competitive structure. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter intends to rest many of his first-choice European players during this summer’s Concacaf Gold Cup, so even if an international ban on Super League players is enacted soon, it likely wouldn’t impact the USA until September’s World Cup qualifiers. If it became an issue at that point, however, it would be a massive story.
UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin already has said thatfrom playing for their national teams. UEFA controls this summer’s European Championship, but the World Cup and its qualifiers are FIFA’s call. A FIFA statement issued late Sunday expressed its “disapproval” of the Super League while stopping short of outlining specific sanctions. Infantino is expected to address this week’s UEFA Congress soon, perhaps as early as Tuesday.
EU chief felt 'hurt,' 'alone' at meeting with Turkish leader
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday that she felt hurt and alone during a meeting with Turkey’s president earlier this month and that she was treated poorly simply because she is a woman. Von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara for talks on tense EU-Turkey relations earlier this month. But only two chairs were set out in front of the EU and Turkish flags for the three leaders. Michel took the chair next to Erdogan. Von der Leyen stood looking at the seated men, expressing her astonishment with an “ehm” sound, and a gesture of disappointment.
The Super League represents an assault on the game’s power center. Its launch also would impact FIFA’s bottom line, as Infantino has been championing a biennial 24-team Club World Cup that effectively would be undercut by the Super League. The question facing Infantino and FIFA’s members is this: Are they willing to threaten their own golden goose, the World Cup, in order to defend the existing structures, set a binding precedent and protect their Club World Cup project? A World Cup without players from the Super League clubs would be a shell of its potential self, and it would rob the likes of Spain, England, Italy, Brazil and others of a significant portion of their first-choice squad—not to mention the USA of its starting quartet, at least.
Perhaps a World Cup ban would galvanize a sufficient number of Super League players to protest, strike or seek employment elsewhere. Playing international football and participating in in a World Cup surely is a more common dream than playing in a closed, elitist and repetitive Super League. Or, some might feel that the security and riches promised by the Super League are enough to replace representing one’s country. This is uncharted territory, and the consequences of Sunday’s supernova, both anticipated and unintended, will be far-reaching. The solidarity demonstrated in that January statement may not extend to every national federation. Some won’t care about Europe’s governance issues. Broadcast partners and sponsors, who spend millions to be associated with the World Cup, may have something to say in court if FIFA devalues the competition by banning dozens of stars. And affected players and their agents, among others, almost certainly will file suit against FIFA claiming restraint of trade, etc., in an effort to have it both ways. It’s not the players’ fault, after all, that their employers have taken this historic step.
The threads are numerous and tangled. It’s still possible that some or all of this may be an elaborate negotiating ploy on the clubs’ part, or that FIFA’s leverage is minimal in the end. What does seem certain is that as this plays out, the effects will be felt far beyond Europe—and that as an increasingly influential participant in the global game, the U.S. isn’t immune. It’s co-hosting a World Cup in five years and hoping to do damage at one in 2022. It will want everyone at their best for both. But for now, the international future of four of the USA’s most influential players is part of the fallout of this weekend’s Super League blast.
More Super League Coverage:
Cowboys split on which cornerback to select with 10th pick .
While it’s always important to take pre-draft news with a grain of salt, that the Cowboys have generally hinted at their first-round selection days before the draft. The reporter details how the Cowboys have narrowed their focus on a specific first-rounder each year since 2015, with the one exception being last year when CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly fell.One thing is for sure: The Cowboys won’t be trading up from No. 10.