U.S. Soccer, like any sports organization has a combative relationship with the media that covers it. Delicate gamesmanship and the massaging of truth are essential to public relations. However, one reporter has particularly aroused resentment, to the point of being denied a credential to the World Cup. That reporter is Fox Sports’ Senior Soccer Writer, Jamie Trecker.
Trecker has a reputation for being critical of U.S. Soccer. “They don’t like that I’m not a cheerleader for them,” Trecker said in a phone interview.
According to both Trecker and U.S. Soccer, the animosity began before the 2003 Women’s World Cup. Trecker reported the event would be moved to the United States from China, because of the SARS epidemic before the official announcement. That information was correct.
According to a spokesperson for U.S. Soccer, Trecker practiced “egregious reporting.” He “misrepresented” a quote from CEO/Secretary General Daniel Flynn, using it for a different article. They stated the interview took place on May 1, 2003. The announcement came on May 3, 2003.
U.S. Soccer sent Trecker a letter, informing him that his credentials were revoked for the rest of the year, and that they were going “to monitor his reporting.”
The animosity between U.S. Soccer and Trecker came to a head before the 2006 World Cup in Germany. FIFA generally requires a journalist to seek approval from their national federation. Despite having covered soccer for years for major publications (including the New York Times and ESPN), U.S. Soccer denied Trecker a credential.
“They said my writing wasn’t up to their standard,” Trecker said. “They have no published standard.”
He eventually received a credential through FIFA itself, easily meeting their requirements. His writing met the standards of Fox Sports, who still employ him.
The U.S. Soccer spokesperson “provided evidence” concerning other events (He specifically “is not accusing”), which occurred during and after the World Cup. The “evidence” states Trecker reported about U.S. National Team media events he did not attend during Germany 2006.
They also believe Trecker incorrectly reported about negotiations between the U.S.S.F. and former Germany and Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“He reported we had a signed deal with Jurgen Klinsmann,” the spokesman said, “and that is unilaterally untrue.”
According to U.S. Soccer, Trecker changed “a signed deal” to “deal” after the fact and “never admitted he was wrong.”
Trecker’s relationship with U.S. Soccer seems not to have improved much since.
“It’s an amateurish and insecure group of people who are at times quite incompetent,” Trecker said. “I’ve never been treated with the lack of professionalism I have at U.S. Soccer. It’s like night and day.”
Soccer writers we spoke to downplayed Trecker’s assessments of U.S. Soccer.
He’s kind of a controversial topic at Big Soccer if anyone is intrigued.