Christian Pulisic's Copa America possibilities and U.S. Soccer's equal pay fight are among the topics in Grant Wahl's latest Insider Notes.
Last weekend 17-year-old American Christian Pulisic of Borussia Dortmund became the youngest player ever to score his second goal in the Bundesliga, and his contributions are not going unnoticed. One U.S. Soccer source says that not only does he expect Pulisic to be part of the U.S. Copa America squad, but he also would not be shocked at all if Pulisic is in the starting lineup.
U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann said last week that Pulisic "makes himself a case" for Copa America inclusion, given that he is playing regularly and contributing for Dortmund. Pulisic has goals in consecutive Bundesliga games against Hamburg and Stuttgart and will go for three in a row Saturday against Wolfsburg. Despite previously having Croatian eligibility, Pulisic was cap-tied to the U.S. after making his debut in last month's home World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.
Elsewhere on U.S. summer roster watch, a national team source says that in the wake of the most recent World Cup qualifiers, two players on the move upward are midfielder Ethan Finlay and center back Steve Birnbaum, while one player on the way down is center back Ventura Alvarado, who did not train well during the camp.
Elsewhere around Planet Fútbol:
Why is equal pay an issue for U.S. Soccer?
If you’ve been following the U.S. women’s players’ equal-pay complaint, you might notice that U.S. Soccer has an $83 million surplus these days according to its own financial report and ask the question: Why is having equal pay for the women even a problem for the federation? So I asked a U.S. Soccer official, who argued on behalf of a few reasons.
One, that U.S. Soccer needs to maintain reserves of $50 million to $60 million as a matter of fiscal prudence. And two, that the organization has a strategic planning meeting next month that is looking at spending on new initiatives like regional development centers, an expanded national training center and increased spending on the NWSL.
Clearly U.S. Soccer has gone from being in financial trouble two decades ago to being a wealthy organization.
Format changes for Champions and Europa League?
Friday is the big day for banned UEFA president Michel Platini in his appeal of his six-year suspension from soccer at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The UEFA officials I have spoken to said it’s a toss-up in their minds whether Platini will have his suspension removed.
But if his ban remains, UEFA will have to organize an election for a new president, and one important issue of that campaign could hinge on how to change the format of Champions League and Europa League. The powerful European Clubs Association discussed possible format changes when it met last week, and the topic isn’t going away.