Sunil Gulati’s Quest for a Business Model for US Soccer


The NYTimes article on Sunil Gulati made me think about the global business model required for US Soccer to succeed.
When asked about the success of Major League Soccer. “It comes down to two things: one is economics and the other is the quality of the league itself, which is obviously related to economics.”
It also depends on Sunil Gulati, the strategy he develops,and of course, execution.
From the article:
Though M.L.S. is not yet attractive enough for the best Italian or English players in their prime, Gulati pointed out, it is a magnet for good players from Latin America on their way to Europe. “I think that’s going to continue to be a pattern,” he added.
The other challenge M.L.S. faces is developing homegrown talent. Again, Gulati insisted that the United States needed a unique approach.
“We’re not going to re-create the beaches of Copacabana and we’re not going to create a ghetto somewhere else where kids are going to learn it in the street,” he said. “American society is different. The role of education is extraordinarily important in the United States.”

Which led me to think of a global talent management system for US Soccer.

Here’s how it works:
The MLS teams with colleges and sponsors (Red Bull) to create a global recruiting system to bring the best talent to the US for training and development. We focus on Latin America and Africa. The system also recruits US-citizens – kids with promise – and brings them into this “global soccer academy.”
That’s step one. Step two is at the club level, where MLS teams bring back “past prime” stars from Europe (like Beckham) to add some glamour to the game combining veterans with the new talent from the global soccer academy.
Step three: MLS makes money by selling quality young stars to Europe (eg. Freddy Adu). Enjoy Chelsea- Freddy!
Pretty simple?
In the meantime, Bruce Arena and gang need desperately to get past the first round in Germany.

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7 comments on “Sunil Gulati’s Quest for a Business Model for US Soccer
  1. Still clinging to hope and see soccer in Germany?

    No fear. For Euro 30 you can see all the matches. Only this is RoboCup2006 in Bremen, Germany from the 14-20 June, 2006. In the RoboCup you can see humanoids kicking a ball and taking penalty kicks. The mission of…

  2. Still clinging to hope and see soccer in Germany?

    No fear. For Euro 30 you can see all the matches. Only this is RoboCup2006 in Bremen, Germany from the 14-20 June, 2006. In the Humanoid league of Robocup2006, humanoid robots, which are robots with a human-like body plan and…

  3. Where is the buzz out here on the biggest sporting event of the world?

    I must be missing something. At least that’s the way I console myself when I look around and see the spotty coverage in the US media about the World Cup. The NYT finally printed an article on the fortunes of…

  4. Spot on. We need to become the Bundesleiga of the Americas. A transition country for bringing the young and inexperienced up to a level where the better leagues can pick them up.
    We won’t become England, Italy, Spain as far as club teams any time soon, so lets find a proper position for MLS to occupy and build it into that. Keep bringing young players from central and South America that didn’t make it in their home countries, the unique South American soccer education will be invaluable in teaching our homegrown players about creativity and the Joga style of play. Being in MLS will give them the physical training advantage the U.S. has.
    MLS needs to entice the big name players after they have retired. Both as players and coaches. As we saw from the Czech’s, they may be old but they’re still physicaly fit and like riding a bike you don’t forget how to kick or dribble, but they also have the experience, the vision, the understanding of the game that young players rarely have.
    As for the home grown players…
    First, we need to get over our elite college soccer system. There are plenty of young hispanic and african players in our own ghettos. Kids whose families emmigrated and raise their kids on soccer but who don’t have the money to play in club leagues or go on to the top tier college soccer programs. Our club system needs to move towards a funding system that doesn’t require the players parents to pay for them to play.
    MLS teams need to work with the high school level club system in the states to sponsor some of these kids, get them in to the spotlight and help them either move directly into MLS or get them on scholarships to play in college. If this demographic sees MLS showing interest in them they will pay more attention to MLS and when they see “their own” playing in MLS and not the elite college kids, they’ll start going to the games even more so. Imagine the support Galaxy, Chivas, Dallas, etc would have 30% of their players from the U.S. “ghettos”, their own, players they knew growing up, kids from their neighborhoods, etc.
    We also need to find a way to get more people out to MLS games. Whether its ticket price, transportation, etc. We need to see whats limiting the people that are soccer fans here from filling the stadiums. We’ve got one (sometimes two) teams per city yet we can’t fill a stadium, go to other countries, they have 5 teams in a city and they always have packed stadiums.

  5. We have gone about the recent promotion with foreign players already in the 70′s.What we have not done ,iscreate talented students of the game.From Gansler to Arena toBradley and god knows who else,we have a terrible national team that looks like a bad highschool team.We developped a first division ‘ROYALTY’ creating medium to poor quality talent on the international front.We ignored talent with the regional politics and state missmanagement as well as discrimination. In case of my son Bob Gansler would privetly encourage but publicly do nothing to promote his talent. A better attaking creative midfielder than present has been ignored.I wish to be involved to put forward a healthy and critical player selection program next to the current status quo. If we ever want true results outside of this uneven Concacaf region, we should change our ways for the im provement of quality player development not pre doctrined and politicized mediocrity. sincerelly GEORGE RIESZ a true footballer

  6. As I declared before we have seen it all before and can not stand it. It was pain at a maximum to see the aimless lack of creativity at work , with fast and furious action that is pointless at best. Well Bradley managed to get his son on the team and have his former chicago second next to him.That is what some call progress.I call it a travesty. One more game where creativity initiative were not there.The team could not get advantage of height nor speed.So what next? I have had my son and his skills sacrificed but he is more able to create than all of the big name players who get promoted to this level.At this rate nothing will change for the better .The status quo will win over the poor talent level.We would not get ahead unless we drop politicians and hire less biggoted and true experts.So far I remain disappointed yet still.

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