U.S. Soccer returns paycheck protection loan to U.S. Treasury

Jordan Morris: USMNT have a solid team identity (1:28)

Jordan Morris says the USMNT are "confident and optimistic" about Gregg Berhalter's direction for the team. (1:28)

The U.S. Soccer Federation has opted to return money it received from the Paycheck Protection Program to the U.S. Treasury Department, a USSF spokesperson confirmed.

- Stream new episodes of ESPN FC Monday-Friday on ESPN+
- Stream every episode of 30 for 30: Soccer Stories on ESPN+
- Notebook: Lloris' guard dog, Man Utd calm on Gomes

"As U.S. Soccer started navigating the financial uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we applied and received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program," the USSF said in a statement. "As several weeks have passed and we continued to review the evolving guidelines for the program, we made the decision to return the loan in full."

In recent weeks, the U.S. Treasury Department modified the program's guidelines on who is eligible to receive such loans. That shift, in part, is what led the USSF to return the money.

ESPN reported last month that the USSF had applied and been approved for a loan, via the PPP. The PPP is part of the CARES Act and is intended to provide small businesses -- defined as having fewer than 500 employees with some exceptions -- with a forgivable loan to pay employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

The loan amounts are forgiven as long as the loan proceeds are used to cover payroll costs, and most mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the eight-week period after the loan is made and if employee and compensation levels are maintained. Otherwise the interest rate is one percent with payments deferred for six months.

The loan application was made in the wake of the USSF laying off and furloughing 50 staff. The most severe cuts were applied to the Development Academy program, which was terminated and was budgeted to cost the Federation $12 million for the current fiscal year.

The USSF also laid off executives Brian Remedi and Tonya Wallach, staff across other departments, as well as interns. CEO Will Wilson said in the announcement that he would be taking a 50 percent pay cut. The USSF also suspended seven youth national team programs.

Given those staff reductions, and assuming that the USSF wasn't going to replace those employees, they would have had to repay the loan plus interest.