The fallout from the United States’ failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia will be felt for years, from lost revenue for the U.S. Soccer Federation to a missed opportunity for the players. The exact financial impact is undoubtedly in the millions but probably won’t ever be ascertained.
With the release of tax filings Monday, however, the USSF can at least close the book on the amount of settlements involving the failed coaching staffs.
According to Form 990 (tax-exempt status) covering the 2018 fiscal year (April 2017 to March 2018), the federation paid former coach Jurgen Klinsmann $3.354 million for the last year of his contract.
Klinsmann was fired in November 2016 after a slow start to the World Cup qualifying campaign. His contract ran until the end of the 2018 tournament, leaving the federation on the hook for another 20 months. He received the balance of his salary for fiscal 2017, then collected the settlement amount last year.
His chief assistant, Andreas Herzog, who was also let go in the fall of 2016, received a settlement of $355,537 last year.
In June 2017, the federation said the overall compensation incurred by the ouster of Klinsmann and his staff would end up costing $6.2 million.
The federation also had to settle with Klinsmann’s replacement, Bruce Arena, who reinvigorated the qualifying effort in 2017 but ultimately failed to earn a berth. Arena had a base salary of $899,348 and, after resigning in October 2017, received another $300,000. His contract was through the 2018 World Cup.
The federation no longer owes money to Klinsmann, Herzog and Arena, spokesman Neil Buethe said.
Klinsmann and Arena are not currently coaching; Herzog is coach of the Israeli national team.
Following Arena’s departure, the federation appointed assistant Dave Sarachan as interim head coach. Sarachan’s salary, which presumably carried over from his assistant’s earnings, was $223,656. Sarachan, who was not retained when his contract expired in December, is now in charge of North Carolina FC, a second-division club.
Herzog’s income was $64,000 more than the amount earned by Jill Ellis, coach of the world champion women’s national team. Ellis’ base salary was $291,029. Tab Ramos, who oversees the under-20 men’s program and works with other teams, also made more than Ellis — a base salary of $295,558, plus a $30,000 bonus.
Last year, however, Ellis signed a new contract in which she received a “substantial increase,” Buethe said. The new agreement was not publicized, and the updated salary will not be made available until the tax documents for fiscal 2019 are released early next year.
Ellis is believed to be the highest-paid female soccer coach in the world.
Female players were among the USSF’s highest earners. Unlike the men, whose income comes largely from clubs around the world, the women draw from the federation in exchange for playing for both the national team and National Women’s Soccer League teams. In other words, the USSF underwrites the NWSL by covering the salaries of U.S. women’s national team players who play in the league.
Not all of the players are included in the tax records, but the list includes Christen Press, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara and Samantha Mewis earning between $247,000 and $258,000. Their base salaries were around $178,000, plus bonuses between $70,000 and $80,000.
The highest-paid USSF official is chief executive Dan Flynn, who received $684,617 in base compensation and $130,000 in bonuses. Including other benefits, he took home $836,517. Flynn, 64, has held his position for almost 19 years and is weighing retirement.
Next on the list was chief operating officer Jay Berhalter, who was paid $466,195 in base salary and $115,563 in bonuses. Overall, he received $609,271. Berhalter’s brother, Gregg, was appointed coach of the men’s national team this winter.
The tax statement notes that “the salary of the CEO is determined using a compensation specialist and a compensation survey which is then approved by the board. The salary of key employees is determined by industry surveys which cover other organizations and sporting teams. The salary of all other employees are determined by comparing them against other similar sized organizations.”