The Story of the "Swindling Suburban Dad" Who Built United States Soccer

Slate's soccer blog.
June 26 2014 11:42 AM

The Story of the "Swindling Suburban Dad" Who Built United States Soccer


FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Can you calm your eyeballs and attention enough right now to do some pre-USA vs. Germany reading? If so, BuzzFeed's investigative piece on Chuck Blazer, the soccer dad who perhaps more than anyone else made United States soccer the big-time enterprise it is today—and lived a ridiculously opulent, allegedly fraudulent lifestyle on U.S. Soccer's dime while doing so—is highly recommended.

Blazer, as writer Ken Bensinger chronicles in detail, ascended with amazing quickness from running youth leagues in suburban Westchester County, New York, to running the organization that controlled all soccer activities in North America. This was partly because "controlling all soccer activities in North America" wasn't such a hot gig until Blazer made it one, hustling relentlessly to book television deals and schedule high-profile matches while networking with figures at the highest level of the game. (He is described almost admiringly by one disgruntled ex-business partner as "a very good B.S. person.") But after two-plus decades atop the U.S. soccer world, Blazer was pushed out in 2011 amidst a deluge of fraud allegations. His story, and BuzzFeed's, hinges on a contract he signed in 1990:

Much of Blazer’s wealth and influence can be traced back to an extraordinary contract he made with the organization that runs soccer from Panama to Canada, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, or CONCACAF. It entitled him to 10 percent—under his unilateral interpretation—of just about every penny the organization brought in. That document provided him an intoxicating personal incentive to grow the sport, earning him a life of spectacular luxury and an unforgettable nickname: Mr. Ten Percent.

Bensinger's piece is a flavorful stew of soccer history, "how the world really works" insider reporting, and wry observation on human nature ("Chuck was a charming guy. But everybody is nice until they screw you"). Read it all here.

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough, So They Added Self-Immolation

Why Hillary Clinton and Other Democrats Are Shrewd to Frame All Issues As “Women’s Issues”

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Never Remember Anything
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.