How does an organization or individual become a member of U.S. Soccer?
Step 1: Determine the category of Membership for your group or organization
The Federation has the following categories of membership:
- Disabled Service Organization
- Indoor Professional League
- National Affiliate
- National Association
- National Member
- Other Affiliate
- Professional League
- State Association
- Life Member
- Individual Sustaining Member
The following definitions apply to the Organization Member classifications. When applying for membership with US Soccer, please select the classification of membership describing your organization.
"Associate" means an organization formed to advance a particular aspect of soccer, but not responsible for recruiting, training, fielding, and funding of soccer players.
"Disabled Service Organization" means an organization formed with the primary goal of advancing and improving soccer for disabled individuals.
"Indoor Professional League" means a professional sports organization that has professional indoor soccer teams competing against each other.
"National Affiliate" means an amateur sports organization that conducts soccer programs in which players compete in at least 26 states of the United States.
"National Association" means an amateur sports organization that conducts soccer programs in which players compete in each of at least 26 states of the United States, with at least 1,000 players in each of 26 states of the United States and at least 200,000 players in the United States and is a member of the Youth or Adult Council established under Bylaw 312 or 313.
"National Member" means a sports organization that has teams competing in each of at least 26 states, and is a sport recognized by FIFA as a discipline of soccer played other than under the "Laws of the Game".
"Other Affiliate" means an amateur sports organization that conducts soccer programs in which players compete in less than 26 states of the United States but in 4 or more states of the United States and is not a member of either the Youth or Adult Council.
"Professional League" means a professional sports organization that has professional soccer teams competing against each other.
"State Association" means the administrative body within a territory determined by the National Council to carry out the Federation’s programs for amateur youth or amateur adult players, or both.
"Life Member" is an honorary membership that can only be bestowed upon an individual by a vote of the National Council at their Annual General Meeting. This category of membership cannot be attained through application, but any voting member of the National Council may place in nomination names for Life Member status.
"Individual Sustaining Member" This membership category is currently under development. Please continue to monitor the US Soccer website for information on applying for this category of membership with US Soccer.
Once a decision is made which membership classification is appropriate,
what are the next steps?
Step 2: Submit a letter to the Secretary General of the United States Soccer Federation requesting membership with US Soccer.
The letter should state the classification of membership desired and include the following with the letter of application:
- Copies of charter or articles of incorporation
- Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, Rules of Play
- Any other governing documents appropriate to understanding the structure and activities of the organization.
If applying to be a National Association, the letter of application should include which Council, Youth or Amateur, the applicant wishes to join.
Ok, I have submitted my letter with the appropriate materials, what happens now?
Once the Secretary General receives an application for membership, it is referred to the Rules Committee to determine if all pertinent documents are included and if the organization complies with the Bylaws and Policies and requirements of the United States Soccer Federation. The committee then makes a recommendation on membership to the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors may admit the applicant to provisional membership in the Federation until the next meeting of the National Council. If the applicant does not comply, the BOD will not issue provisional membership and will recommend to the National Council that membership be denied.
Please note that only one State Association for youth players and one State Association for adult players classification will be granted. Any challenges to existing state associations must follow Bylaw 213, Section 4.
For any questions regarding membership with US Soccer, please contact us at Services@ussoccer.org
Benefits of Membership with the United States Soccer Federation
Membership with the United States Soccer Federation comes with many benefits. Some of these benefits are outlined below:
In the Area of Governance
- US Soccer provides the interface with IOC, USOC, FIFA, and CONCACAF
- Each member may use the US Soccer appeal process
- Mediation for disputes
- Settlement of grievances between Organizational Members
- Meeting and Event planning and logistics for Annual General Meeting, Board of Directors Meetings, committee meetings and all Special Meetings of the Federation.
- Participation in formulating the bylaws and policies regarding governance of soccer in the United States
- Links from US Soccer website to the websites of affiliates
- US Soccer will review the governing documents of state associations and other Affiliated organizations to insure compliance
- Update, publish and distribute bylaws and policies
- US Soccer will provide a directory of members and their contact information
- Collection and distribution of minutes of meetings
- Official FIFA Licensing Program for all levels of coach
- Education of coaches through development and presentation of materials
- Continuing education opportunities for coaches
- Education through production and presentation of materials by US Soccer Referee Department
- Licensing and insuring of US Soccer registered referees
- Continuing education of referees
- Training and licensing of instructors, assessors and assignors
- Assignment and assessment for professional leagues and others by US Soccer
- Priority rights in game coverage goes to affiliated games
- Fair Play publication to all referees
- Up to date website for referee information
- Approval of applications for international games
- Approval process facilitated with foreign national associations for all international soccer games and events
- E-mail participation in the US Soccer Communications Center, which provides updates on the status of US Soccer, national teams and the sport directly to your e-mail address
- Notification of National Team games and television schedule
- First right to purchase tickets for all US Soccer operated events – this gives you the chance to purchase tickets before the public sale.
- Affiliation and playing opportunities open to all in compliance with the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act
- Selection and funding of national teams and programs for boys and girls, beginning at age 14
- Training and development of players
- Game and event operations
- Approval of international travel
- Approval of permission to host international teams
- Professional player registration
- Provide information to amateur members regarding pro status and international clearance status of players
- Solicit and track international clearances
- Provide waivers from international clearance rules for players age 14 – 16
Responsibilities of Membership in the United States Soccer Federation
While being a member in the US Soccer Federation entitles you to a number of benefits, there are also responsibilities that organizational members are expected to fulfill. Some of these responsibilities are listed below:
Each Organizational Member must do the following:
- Comply with all bylaws, policies, and requirements of the Federation, to the extent applicable to that classification of Organization Member.
- Submit to the Federation any amendment to its charter of articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules and regulations not later than 90 days after the adoption of an amendment.
- Submit to the Federation its most current annual reports and financial statements within 90 days after the start of the seasonal year.
- Pay fees due to the Federation by the deadline the fees are required to be paid.
- Comply with the Amateur Sports Act to the extent applicable.
- Organizations wishing to conduct international soccer competition to be held in the United States or to sponsor or participate in international competition to be held outside of the United States, must first obtain a sanction from the Federation.
State Association Responsibilities
All state associations shall meet the following requirements and have them as a part of the governing documents of their respective state association:
- Membership must be open to any soccer players, coaches, trainers, managers, administrators and officials not under suspension, and to any amateur soccer organization in its territory.
- Will not discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex or national origin.
- The Federation articles of incorporation, bylaws, policies and requirements take precedence over and supercede the governing documents of and decisions of the State Association and its members to the extent applicable under the law, and the State Association and its members will abide by articles, bylaws, policies and requirements.
- The State Association will not join any organization that has requirements that conflict with the Federation’s articles, bylaws, policies and requirements.
- The State Associations shall register all of its players, coaches, teams, referees and administrators with the Federation at least once each year and timely pay all dues and fees of the Federation.
- The State Association and its members shall abide by the Federation’s articles, bylaws, policies and requirements on interplay.
- The State Association shall have a Board of Directors (or similar body) selected through an open and democratic election process.
- Actions and policies adopted by the Board of Directors (or similar body), Executive Committee, or officers of the State Association shall be reported to its membership, or their authorized representatives, at least once each year at a meeting of the State Association’s membership, with notice and agenda of the meeting at least 15 days in advance of the meeting.
- The State Association shall provide to the Secretary General of the Federation an annual report on the activities of the Association and most current annual financial statements within 90 days after the start of the Federation’s seasonal year.
- The State Association will (A) provide annually to the Federation copies of the State Association’s constitution, bylaws, and other governing documents, (B) submit changes to those documents to the Federation for approval not later then 90 days after adoption, and (C) make copies of those documents available to its members.
- The State Association will provide equitable and prompt hearing and appeal procedures to guarantee the rights of individuals to participate and compete. Those procedures shall include that all grievances involving the right to participate and compete in activities sponsored by the Federation and the State Association and its members may be appealed to the Federation’s Appeals Committee that shall have jurisdiction to approve, modify or reverse a decision.
- The State Association shall maintain its tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code.
- The State Association shall adopt policies prohibiting sexual and physical abuse that meet certain minimum criteria established by Federation (subject to any contrary requirements contained in state or local law applicable to the State Association).
- The State Association will allow the Federation to review the documents and procedures of the State Association, on request of the Federation not less than once every 4 years, to determine compliance with these bylaws.