On Saturday, November 11, GotSoccer is hosting the confirmed candidates for the position of U.S. Soccer President in a two-hour Candidates Forum to be held at the 10th annual GotSoccer/GotPro Winter Convention in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The event will also be live-streamed.
And so, with the day rapidly approaching GotSoccer has invited each of the potential leaders to state his case.
Today we feature Club owner: Paul Lapointe
“Who’s this Lapointe guy?” “That’s my new tagline,” Lapointe told GotSoccer in a recent phone conversation. With a trio of former USMNT players running for the job of President of U.S. Soccer, Lapointe understands that you might not be familiar with him, though he doesn’t come off as particularly worried about it.
“This Lapointe guy” has been operating across all levels of soccer in Massachusetts since he became the owner of an indoor soccer franchise in the 1980’s as a 23-year-old. Lapointe was a player and coach as well and has also co-founded a youth team.
These varied experiences give Lapointe a different vantage point from which to view the sport which Lapointe embraces, calling himself, “a grassroots guy.”
Lapointe says of the “current administration” of U.S. Soccer that “I think what we are seeing now with the American soccer community really showing a voice, I think it’s created because the current administration has been focused the money of game and hosting World Cups and building just the national team.”
“During this process,” Lapointe continued, “we fell short of the very thing that supports soccer in this country and that’s the youth system.” Lapointe feels that “we have to go back to youth system, we have to go back to the amateur system and we have to fix that and invest in that.”
“We have infrastructure now, we have huge stadiums, we’ve got state of the art training facilities, we’ve got coaching and education programs,” Lapointe says, “and yet we can’t deliver a youth system that supports it (the national team) today.” “It (a revitalized U.S. Soccer) has got to come from the amateurs, it’s got to come from the youth ranks, and I think the current administration has ignored that.”
Lapointe also has strong views on the women’s game in the United States. “Right off the bat,” Lapointe says, “I’m going to come out swinging. I think the women from the NWSL on down deserve a U.S. Open Cup. They deserve exposure levels in those ranks, as well.”
Ever the grassroots guy, Lapointe said, “the U.S Open Cup for women is number one. Number two, obviously equal pay. The base pay should be the same.” “Going back to the U.S. Open Cup,” Lapointe says, “I think it’s going to expose a little more tv and maybe attract some new investors.”
Lapointe has been a vocal proponent of promotion and relegation for American soccer and has called for a defined system that supports player development. The candidate told GotSoccer that he “is in the middle of writing that portion of it,” before elaborating. “I use the word defined because I don’t think anybody has come out with a defined program, in writing, that shows actual numbers.”
Speaking on the player development portion of his plan, Lapointe explained, “what I mean is this, I’ve defined a system that is going to be instituted through a registration system, and an identification system that works hand in hand.” Lapointe believes that his system can work in the youth ranks, amateur adult ranks and even in the professional game.
This system is intended to protect clubs from having their players poached and with some form of solidarity payments, Lapointe believes the system would encourage teams to develop players.
With his experience in indoor soccer, Lapointe also calls himself “passionate about the game of futsal,” which he calls, “the gateway to the complete technical player.” “We have a futsal national team that competes in CONCACAF and we don’t even sanction the sport in this country.”
Lapointe would encourage more involvement and more money for the small field game, saying “it needs to be part of our development program.”
With over 36 years in the game at all levels, as a club owner and even league founder, a player on his team, a Community college coach, gives Lapointe confidence that he can be the person to lead U.S Soccer out of its current morass.
Lapointe says, “I don’t think American soccer is broken, I just think it needs a reboot.”
Founder/Team Owner Indoor Soccer team
Pro indoor soccer player
co-founder/owner youth indoor soccer league