by Paul Kennedy

U.S. Soccer's membership approved sweeping changes in its governance structure to comply with new federal laws related to the representation of athletes on national governing bodies.

The governance changes were drawn up by a task force formed earlier in the year and required an Extraordinary National Council Meeting for approval by the membership. Saturday's meeting was held on site in Chicago, though about three-quarters of members participated virtually.

Extraordinary National Council Meeting: 2021 amendments

The amendments included changes related to the voting structure of the National Council and composition of the board of directors in order to comply with the requirement that one-third of sports bodies are athletes (up from 20 percent).

New National Council voting shares:

Athletes 33.3% (+13.3%)
Adult 20% (-5%)
Youth 20% (-5%)
Pros 20% (-5%)
Other 6.7% (+1.7%)

New board of directors:

Vice President
4 *Youth (+2)
3 *Pros (+1)
Athletes (+4)
21 Total (+6)
*One Youth member and one Pro member alternating as voting and non-voting member through March 2023 National Council Meeting.

The new voting shares were approved by a vote of 92%-8%. The new board was approved by a vote of 97%-3% as part of a package of amendments that related to such governance issues as round-by-round balloting in elections and the backgrounds of athletes serving on the board.

The Amateur Sports Act was first passed in 1978 and is better known as the Ted Stevens Act. In 2020, changes to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and all national governing bodies were approved by Congress in response to the sexual abuse scandal within USA Gymnastics involving former national team doctor Larry Nassar.