Candidates for US Soccer Federation President

The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced the eight candidates who were formally nominated to run for president of the organization.

Current President Sunil Gulati said last month he will not seek a fourth term, a decision that followed the U.S. national team’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Candidates were required to have three nominations and pass a background check. The election is scheduled for Feb. 10 at the USSF’s annual general meeting in Orlando, Florida.

The eight nominated candidates:

PAUL CALIGIURI: A former national team defender/midfielder with 110 international appearances, Caligiuri is a member of the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame. His goal at Trinidad and Tobago in 1989 gave the United States a 1-0 win and clinched the Americans’ first World Cup appearance since 1950. At the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Caligiuri scored against Czechoslovakia.

The 53-year-old played professionally both abroad and in the United States, finishing his playing career with the LA Galaxy from 1997-2001.

KATHY CARTER: She is president of Soccer United Marketing, the marketing arm of Major League Soccer. A former goalkeeper for William & Mary, she worked for the local organizing committee of the 1994 World Cup in the United States before joining MLS, where she was vice president of corporate marketing. She has said the role of federation president is not that of CEO, and she will make sure those responsibilities are in the hands of Dan Flynn, the USSF’s secretary general and CEO since 2000.

Not surprisingly, the 47-year-old Carter was nominated as a formal candidate by MLS.

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CARLOS CORDEIRO: He is the USSF’s current vice president and was viewed as a protege of Gulati. A former Goldman Sachs executive, Cordeiro has been with the federation since 2007 and has served as treasurer and chairman of the budget committee. He was elected vice president in February 2016.

At the heart of Cordeiro’s campaign is Aim Higher, which includes launching a technical department with general managers of the men’s and women’s national team. He is calling for transparency within the federation and growing the game at all levels.

STEVE GANS: A Boston-based lawyer whose involvement in the game has focused on the legal and consulting side for some 25 years. In addition to player representation and consultation for MLS teams, he heads Professional Soccer Advisors Inc., which connects Premier League teams with interests and businesses in the United States. He was an executive for the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League, and briefly played for the team.

Gans has called for an independent professional to oversee the election process, while U.S. Soccer in turn said it always planned to have an outside firm oversee it.


KYLE MARTINO: Former national team player currently on hiatus from his job as a commentator for NBC’s Premier League coverage. His campaign slogan is “Transparency. Equality. Progress.” He’s got support from some well-known former players, including David Beckham and Thierry Henry. While he lacks the business experience that some of the other candidates tout, he says it’s “time to put soccer back at the center of the United States Soccer Federation.”

The 36-year-old father of two said if the United States fails to make the 2022 World Cup, he would step aside.


HOPE SOLO: The former U.S. national team goalkeeper is a passionate advocate of gender equity. She is also an outspoken critic of the pay-to-play model in youth sports, citing personal experience. Her 202 appearances with the national team include 153 wins and an international-record 102 shutouts.

She was suspended from the national team for 30 days in January 2015 after she was in a car when her husband, former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Solo was suspended from the national team for six months in August 2016 after calling Sweden “a bunch of cowards” for what she viewed as conservative tactics that eliminated the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics. A domestic violence charge from 2014 remains pending, stemming from an altercation with family members.


MICHAEL WINOGRAD: A New York-based attorney, Winograd played professionally in Israel and was an assistant coach at the University of Richmond. He was a founder of the Staten Island Vipers, a USL A-League team that played from 1998-99.

Winograd works for Ropes & Gray LLP and is an adjunct professor of law at Fordham’s School of Law. He says if elected he would focus on “forming and utilizing inclusive, merit-based and transparent advisory committees for critical decisions, ensuring equal treatment for women’s soccer and taking down cost barriers in youth soccer and coaching education.”


ERIC WYNALDA: A former star forward who held the American record of 34 international goals until surpassed by Landon Donovan, Wynalda is a veteran of three World Cups. He played on the pro level in both Europe and the United States. He has coached lower-tier teams since his retirement and served as a television analyst for Fox. In 2012 he led Cal FC, a group of amateurs, to a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in U.S. Open Cup play.

One of the 48-year-old’s platforms is to shift the soccer season in the United States to the European schedule of August through May.


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