U.S. Soccer will use up to $3 million of its surplus on a new program called the “Innovate to Grow Fund.”

By Grant Wahl
May 10, 2017

As SI.com reported last week, U.S. Soccer has started talks to use part of its surplus in excess of $100 million toward building a new national training center. U.S. Soccer certainly won’t spend all of its nest egg on new projects, but additional initiatives are in the works.

In another project, SI.com has learned that U.S. Soccer will use up to $3 million total on a new program called the “Innovate to Grow Fund.” The federation is asking its members to come up with innovative programs to stimulate growth among their membership. Once the proposals are in, applications will be reviewed and recipients will be notified by September 1.

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The initiative is only open to non-professional members who register players. One hypothetical idea, for example, could be state associations creating a program to increase the number of coaches with a grassroots coaching license.

An official announcement is expected to come soon.

Elsewhere in news around the U.S. soccer sphere:

U.S. Soccer filed a player tampering complaint with FIFA this week against Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas, SI.com has learned.

Over the weekend, Aulas tweeted at Portland Thorns player Allie Long about his desire for her to join Lyon. Portland owner Merritt Paulson went back hard at Aulas on Twitter about tampering with players under contract, and now U.S. Soccer has backed it up with a formal complaint.

Aulas also tweeted at Alex Morgan in the same way before he signed her to a short-term contract with Lyon this year. Morgan will play in the Women's Champions League final with Lyon vs. French power PSG on June 1 in Cardiff after ousting Carli Lloyd's Manchester City Women in the semifinals.

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Long, meanwhile, has emerged as a regular under U.S. manager Jill Ellis, playing both in the midfield and in defense. She started three times at the Olympics, the subsequent six games to close 2016 and four of the team's five matches in 2017.

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The NASL will announce a new team for 2018 in Orange County, California, SI.com has learned.

The team’s majority owner will be entrepreneur Pete Capriotti, and the team will play at Titan Stadium at Cal State-Fullerton. What's more, while a contract has yet to be signed, there is a significant possibility that the new NASL team will be coached by former U.S. great Eric Wynalda, who has been in detailed talks with the ownership group.

Orange County will be the second new NASL team on the West Coast after the start this year of the San Francisco Deltas.