U.S. Soccer plans to widen horizons

The U.S. Soccer, the governing body of the sport in the United States, announced a plan to strengthen its ties with the rest of the world's soccer community this week at the XVI CONCACAF Extraordinary Congress in Munich, Germany.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter and CONCACAF President Jack Warner were both on hand for the unveiling of U.S. Soccer's International Relations Programs, which seeks to further develop the sport, particularly in the CONCACAF region.

"We know how important it is for the world soccer community to work together to grow our sport," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "With that in mind we are initiating an international relations program at U.S. Soccer that we hope will broaden our social responsibility to the game and its future."

The first order of business will be for U.S. Soccer to host a referee seminar in the United States, inviting officials from CONCACAF nations. The details of the seminar will be announced after the World Cup.

In unveiling the plan, U.S. Soccer said it is three-pronged.

First, the federation plans to help developing nations further themselves in the sport of soccer by lending expertise in the areas of administration, coaching, communications and refereeing. Second, U.S. Soccer will provide "on the job" training to officials from other nations to gain experience and knowledge in different roles in U.S. Soccer. Finally, U.S. Soccer will look to form partnerships that will help increase or expand the quality or reach of the program.

"Ultimately, we are hopeful that this program will enhance our relationships on an international level," Gulati said. "We are fortunately in a position of growth ourselves at U.S. Soccer, and feel that by appropriating the proper resources toward the international community we can not only help others, but we can accelerate our own programs, as well."

Jason Halpin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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