The U.S. Soccer Federation board of directors met in Toronto last Sunday, and took some initial steps towards revamping the responsibilities of several positions, according to multiple sources who were in attendance.
The changes were debated during the "executive session" portion of the meeting, which was not open to the public. While no final decisions were made, there was consensus among the board members on some issues. Foremost among the changes is that the president is going to be more of a chairman of the board and not an executive president. This is a clear departure from the way the board operated under current president Sunil Gulati.
Gulati's management style was of someone who took a hands on role in just about every aspect of the USSF's business, often making decisions independent of the board. This included the hiring and firing of national team managers.
The board also agreed that a general manager type position will be created with that person overseeing the men's national team, and that the head coach would report to the GM. It is not clear at this stage if the job of GM will be combined with that of technical director, or if a separate GM position will be created for the women's side. But the GM is expected to be hired before the men's national team manager, and would be heavily involved in the managerial search that follows.
"[The GM] would be the person in charge of running everything, like they do in Europe," said one source who attended the meetings. "You have the federation but you also have the person that runs the national team."
Another attendee added: "We're going to run this like a sports organization. How's that for a change of pace?"
The task of fleshing out the exact changes to the organization chart and processes will be undertaken by USSF secretary general/CEO Dan Flynn and his staff. Another board of directors meeting has been scheduled for some time in January, at which time Flynn will present his full proposal.
The expectation is that the changes will be formalized prior to the USSF's Annual General Meeting in early February.
"It's a big change in how we've doing business, so we want to make sure we're doing it right," said one source. "I don't see anyone saying, 'Let's do it by tomorrow.'"