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NASL sues U.S. Soccer Board members, including Gulati, Garber, Cordeiro

The NASL’s fight against U.S. Soccer took a big step on Tuesday.

The NASL announced on Tuesday that the league has filed a lawsuit in New York state court against members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors. The defendants named in the league’s lawsuit include President Sunil Gulati, Vice President Carlos Cordeiro, CEO Daniel Flynn, and Board members Valerie Ackerman, Christopher Ahrens, Carlos Bocanegra, Lisa Carnoy, John Collins, Don Garber, Jesse Harrell, Angela Hucles, Stephen Malik, Richard Moeller, Donna Shalala, and Timothy Turney.

In the lawsuit, the NASL claims that the defendants breached their duties to the NASL as a result of conflicts of interest and economic considerations. The lawsuit comes as a result of U.S. Soccer’s decision to not sanction the NASL as a Division II league heading into the 2018 campaign.

According to the NASL, the league wasn’t sanctioned due to the members’ commitments to both MLS and Soccer United Marketing.

The complaint alleges that the defendants looked to “freeze out” MLS competitors, like the NASL, while signaling out Gulati and Garber for advancing “MLS interests while enhancing their own clout and influence”.

Earlier this week, according to ESPN, the NASL sent a demand letter calling for U.S. Soccer to turn over all records relating to what the league sees as a potential violation of the New York Not-for-Profit Law(N-PCL). The letter called for U.S. Soccer to turn over all minutes and records from meetings of the Board of Directors as well as any relevant committees. The letter also asks for the disclosure of U.S. Soccer’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 2017.

According to the report, U.S. Soccer responded on Tuesday, telling the NASL to go to the the federation website to view available financial records and meeting minutes. U.S. Soccer also reportedly said that financial statements for 2017 are still being prepared.

Regarding the other materials, the federation says they “fall outside of the scope of U.S. Soccer’s obligations” pursuant to the N-PCL.

Tuesday’s lawsuit is the latest step  in the legal battle between the two parties following the decision not to grant the NASL Division II status heading into 2018. That decision recently went under appeal after the the NASL’s injunction in U.S. District Court was denied.


  1. nasl should add to their lawsuit the way that us soccer MAY HAVE screened out opposition in the upcoming us soccer election by requiring every candidate to get three letters of recommendation from the current members of the us soccer board (who are alleged to have conflict of interest in mls)

    it looks to me like the fix is in for nasl, i think this lawsuit is correct.

    just my two cents

    • stop me when i say something incorrect. because us soccer is supposed to be unbiased, not have any favorites amongst its children. it should not like either indoor or outdoor soccer better, or the men’s game or the women’s. and it should neither like better club ownership or single entity. see? in theory, us soccer should embrace each one of its children in the same loving arms. is it doing that? or does it have favorites?

    • i think we all know that us soccer and mls are in bed together. and whether or not nasl is good at management is irrelevant to the point. let us see what the courts find to be true.

  2. This will go nowhere like the rest of NASL’s lawsuits. If the NASL made better business decisions, didn’t have a complete fool as a commissioner in Peterson, vetted their owners better and didn’t blindly follow the Cosmos into oblivion (again) they would’nt be in this mess.

    But when all else fails, blame someone else and sue.

    • Said like a true MLS/SUM employee. Well done you’re part of the problem. All it takes is that one case or that one judge or that one piece or evidence or that one witness and then SUM is toast. Foolish new owners paying $150MM expansion fees to get in on SUM. The conflict of interest argument is their all day, can you say settlement. Feinstein even hauled you before a senate hearing. Good luck putting out all the fires one eventually will catch strong and burn it down.

      • Lol, I am not a fan of Gulati or The Don. But it’s also not their fault the NASL is a mess.

        It’s not their fault the NASL and the Cosmos still thought it was 1977 and wasted a load of money on a meritless lawsuit that almost bankrupt the league and was ultimately dropped.

        I guess it was Gulati and The Don’s fault NASL gave teams to terrible owners Rayo Vallecano and the group in Fort Lauderdale. I suppose it’s also their fault Mark Frisch didnt have enough money to own a team in Jacksonville or that nobody cares about soccer in Edmonton or S.F.

        You would think the NASL would have learned the big lesson from the first time around. Don’t let the Cosmos drag the league down…..but they didn’t. Even the original NASL was going to implement a salary cap if it had survived and played the 1985 season.

        But, don’t let the facts get in the way of your personal reality.

    • There are a lot of simple idiots and conspiracy theorists who would rather make up bullshit about NASL being a victim than consider the actual facts when it comes to its demise.

    • I don’t give too sh-ts about NASL. TrafficSports screwed NASL and my ATL Silverbacks so I’ve got no love lost with NASL. I want the lawsuit to provide fruit so that MLS/SUM gets exposed and end game being a free and independent USSF that is in control of our federation without the direct influence and meddling from MLS/SUM in federation decision making on all things from sanctioning to USMNT home games and roster selection.

      You can’t really call it a conspiracy theory anymore JIM. The president of SUM is running president of USSF and was hand picked by Garber as Sunil’s successor. The MLS/SUM control of USSF is no longer a conspiracy guys, wake up.

      • Were MLS and SUM connected when USSoccer hired Jurgen Klinsmann and gave him full reign over the national team program? Yes. Were they connected when USSoccer granted NASL second tier status in 2011 (when NASL had been NO modern history as a league). Yes.

        Your theory falls apart with these two facts. Arena (the MLS pawn as you portray him) was only brought in because he was the ONLY option with experience and knowledge of most the player pool. Keep in mind that Jurgen was given an extremely long leash and should have been gone after the disaster of the Gold Cup and Mexico playoff.

        The second part of that is the league sanctioning side. USSF was more than fair to NASL until it was obvious that they were a complete Mickey Mouse shitshow run by clowns and mired in volatility. The MLS/USL partnership has been one of the most important developments in the game that the US has ever seen. We are finally on our way to having not only a stable second division, but also a stable third division. When comparing NASL to USL, it was not a hard decision that USSoccer had with the sanctioning. Granting a 6-team NASL second tier status over a 36-team USL would have been among the dumbest decisions of all time — especially given the long term plans of USL vs. the non-existent plans of NASL.

        There is no doubt a relationship between MLS, SUM, and USSoccer. However, your argument becomes a baseless conspiracy theory when you forget the actual context of the last couple of decades (I only addressed two small topics within that context).

    • Let me add that the only way toward promotion and relegation is with a complete and mature structure of at least three to four tiers of leagues. NASL constantly challenging MLS in this power struggle that they have absolutely no chance in is NOT the way to get there. The system that MLS and USL, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of structure that could, however.

      • JIM again its no longer a theory bro. MLS/SUM controls USSF. First Sunil and now Kathy Carter are both Garber’s hand picked lackey. You can keep trying to make it sound different but it doesn’t change whats real. You could go back to the argument that this lack of transparency and meddling by MLS/SUM is good for soccer in the US but I think most fans now see that as a negative too.

    • You’re just making yourself look bad now. If MLS, SUM, and USSF are all in cahoots to put unfairly put the NASL out and only consider MLS people for the national team manager, then why was NASL done a humongous favor and given D2 status in the first place, and why was Jurgen Klinsmann given not only the coaching position but also the technical director position. While you can easily show a relationship between MLS, SUM, and USSF, you have to dip into some seriously boneheaded conspiracy theories in order to make it sound like there is something nefarious happening.

      • Meddling would be positioning SUM’s current president to become the next president of USSF.

        Meddling would be play NT games in MLS stadiums(gate and concession rev to MLS owners) near opposition ex pat communities who bought nearly half the tickets to the Panama game in Orlando and the CR game in NY.

        Meddling would be firing an anti MLS manager and installing a adamantly pro MLS manager who calls up Graham Zusi a converteed over the hill winger for a RB position when we have a player starting and winning Bundesliga RB of the week honors for Eintracht Frankfurt. Calling in brick footed “playmakers” like Jordan Morris and Gyasi Zardes because we gotta promote our star MLS players even though their so shiite one had to get playing time at RB for his club team. All the while leaving EPL and Bundesliga starters on the bench or not calling them in at all. And then claiming we don’t have a problem with development or players falling thru the cracks within USSoccer. What a joke man. Meddling is all over the place.

        Meddling would be owning USMNT and WNT and YNT TV rights selling them for hundred of millions and only paying USSoccer $30MM/yr (read the Grant Wahl interview with Garber at And selling a 30% stake in SUM who owns the NTs marketing right to Providence Equity a PE firm before buying it back at a higher price.

        Our NTs are big business we don’t need SUM anymore. They’re in the way and just collecting check on our fandom. Buddy wake up see the light and become part of the solution instead of defending this albatross.

        Could care less about NASL its just another symptom and just want the cases like this to bring everything into he open for all to see so we can fix this mess once and for all.

    • Little of what you describe as “meddling” actually has anything to do with the product that the national team puts on the field. Your one example of “firing an anti MLS manager and installing a adamantly pro MLS manager” is hilariously ignorant. That anti MLS manager was given more power than any other coach in the history of USSoccer. He was paid more money and given a longer contract than previous coaches. Most notably, he was given a longer leash than should have ever been given. Due to the hole that anti MLS coach dug, the pro MLS coach was basically the only option. He was hired as a short term stop gap with a single mission because he was the only person with experience and knowledge of the player pool. He failed.

      This case shows a failure by two coaches — one anti MLS, one pro MLS. Contrary to the point that you are trying to make, it actually shows that USSF was trying to take the program to another level by giving the keys to Jurgen. Like so many of your little beefs, this shows an incredible lack of context and perspective.

      • Keep defending the albatross. If you are a real fan we’re doomed we can’t even see when we’re being snookered and at the same time defend the persons snookering us as fans then argues about it with other fans. SMDH

    • Bruh. We’re not being “snookered.” Question the leadership, business decisions, hiring decisions, player selections, etc., but that does not amount to some scheme that is bringing down the game in the US. I promise you that all of these people want to see the game grow and that they want the US domestic league and national teams to be as successful as possible. That does not mean that you are going to agree with how they do it, but don’t be so childish as to suggest that there is some racket going on to bring down the game.

      If you TRULY want to do something about it, get involved in the game as much as you can at the local level. The thing that we need more than anything related to leadership and organizational development is cultural development. We need more fans, better coaches, more youth players eager to do whatever it takes to get to the highest level, etc. It really doesn’t matter if Kathy Carter, Eric Wynalda or I am the next USSF president when it comes to the nitty gritty of what is going to really get us to the top.

      ps – thanks for the idea on this paragraph format. hope you don’t mind me jacking it.

  3. Calling a few good attorneys this one has a class action lawsuit written all over it for any lower division owners who’s club went under.

    • Yeah, likely NASL is blowing everything they have left in their budget on legal expenses trying to get some sort of settlement so that they can get some profit out of the league that they ran into the ground with poor decisions and mismanagement.


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