Hope Solo

Photos of the US goal keeper.

<p>A year after the USWNT put four players on the FIFPRO Women&#39;s World XI (Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan), the latter is the only one who returned for the 2017 version. Morgan, who moved to Lyon and won the French cup, league and a Champions League title while abroad, has only continued to impress after returning from France. Back in the NSWSL with the Orlando Pride, Morgan sounded excited about being chosen once again as one of the best players in the world.</p><p>“It&#39;s always exciting to be considered as one of the top players in the world,&quot; Morgan said. &quot;For women’s football to have our own World XI is incredible. It helps promote the women&#39;s game. It helps female footballers recognize the talent among their peers and I&#39;m really happy to encourage and be a part of that.”</p><p>The award was announced on Thursday for International Women’s Day and according to FIFPro, more than 4,100 female players at first-division teams across 45 countries participated in the voting.</p><p>Here is the full FIFPro Women&#39;s World XI for 2016 (along with current club/country):</p><p><strong>GOALKEEPER</strong>: Hedvig Lindahl (Chelsea/Sweden)</p><p><strong>DEFENDERS</strong>: Lucy Bronze (Lyon/England), Nilla Fischer (Wolfsburg/Sweden), Irene Paredes (PSG/Spain)</p><p><strong>MIDFIELDERS</strong>: Dzsenifer Marozsan (Lyon/Germany), Camile Abily (Lyon/France), Marta (Rosengard/Brazil)</p><p><strong>FORWARDS</strong>: Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/USA), Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg/Denmark), Lieke Martens (Barcelona/Netherlands)</p>
Alex Morgan Is the Lone American in the 2017 FIFPro Women's World XI

A year after the USWNT put four players on the FIFPRO Women's World XI (Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Ali Krieger and Alex Morgan), the latter is the only one who returned for the 2017 version. Morgan, who moved to Lyon and won the French cup, league and a Champions League title while abroad, has only continued to impress after returning from France. Back in the NSWSL with the Orlando Pride, Morgan sounded excited about being chosen once again as one of the best players in the world.

“It's always exciting to be considered as one of the top players in the world," Morgan said. "For women’s football to have our own World XI is incredible. It helps promote the women's game. It helps female footballers recognize the talent among their peers and I'm really happy to encourage and be a part of that.”

The award was announced on Thursday for International Women’s Day and according to FIFPro, more than 4,100 female players at first-division teams across 45 countries participated in the voting.

Here is the full FIFPro Women's World XI for 2016 (along with current club/country):

GOALKEEPER: Hedvig Lindahl (Chelsea/Sweden)

DEFENDERS: Lucy Bronze (Lyon/England), Nilla Fischer (Wolfsburg/Sweden), Irene Paredes (PSG/Spain)

MIDFIELDERS: Dzsenifer Marozsan (Lyon/Germany), Camile Abily (Lyon/France), Marta (Rosengard/Brazil)

FORWARDS: Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride/USA), Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg/Denmark), Lieke Martens (Barcelona/Netherlands)

<p>On the new Planet Fútbol Podcast, Landon Donovan gave his most detailed interview yet since deciding to come out of retirement and play for Club León in Mexico. His interview touched on a wide range of topics, from what led to his decision to play in Mexico to what he’s capable of in pure soccer terms these days to his reaction to the U.S. Soccer election and who he would like to see as the next U.S. men’s national team coach.</p><p>Here are some of the standout quotes for Donovan’s long and candid interview, which can be listened to in full in the podcast console below <em>(to subscribe to and download the podcast, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/planet-f%C3%BAtbol-with-grant-wahl/id999062153?ls=1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:you can find us on iTunes here" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">you can find us on iTunes here</a>)</em>:</p><p><strong>On why he wanted to come out of retirement and play for Club León:</strong></p><p>“It’s a simple question, not a simple answer. It wasn’t a slam-dunk yes, and it wasn’t a slam-dunk no when it happened. I was home, very happy in retirement with my family in San Diego, enjoying life, doing what I wanted when I wanted more or less. And I got a phone call from my agent, Richard Motzkin, asking if I had any remote interest in playing again. And I said, ‘No thanks. I appreciate it, but no.’ And he said, ‘OK, just so you know, a team in Mexico called and asked if you would have any interest in it.’ Kind of left it at that. So I went to sleep, didn’t think much of it. The next day he called back and said, ‘Listen, they’re really interested in having you come. They’re looking for a player that’s got experience and someone who can help them on the field, help them off the field. They would really like a chance to speak to you.’ And it sort of developed a little bit from there.”</p><p>“I maybe gave it a 1 percent chance at that point and told them I would keep an open mind about it. And as the day went on, I thought about it. I spoke to my wife quite a bit about it. And they kept calling and reaching out. The owner called and wanted to speak to me. In the end, it kind of goes to the power of going after something you want. And I give them a lot of credit for convincing me and making me feel wanted. I told my agent that I would make a trip down here to watch a cup game they had and kind of get to know the city a little bit and get to know the people involved. And I would come with an open mind. And sure enough, the minute I got here I really fell in love with it and thought it would be a great opportunity for my family, a great life experience and fun to play soccer again with good soccer players.”</p><p><strong>On wanting to play the game again when he still has the opportunity in his life:</strong></p><p>“It’s interesting. Because when you’re away from it, and you know as we’ve spent time on different road trips doing Fox telecasts, you see the game differently and it’s been enjoyable for me to be up in the booth commentating and watching the game and learning the game from a different perspective. But you also get excited, you know. The gamedays make me excited when we’re there in the MLS playoffs or we’re there at national team games. The gamedays are exciting, and that energy can’t be replaced or manufactured anywhere else in life. And so I have had some time to gather some perspective and realize that I’m 35, I’m going to be 36 soon. Just physically, there’s no way I could do this for many more years. So if it is something that in any way interests me I should think about it seriously. That was sort of the processing that I went through. Now it’s not like I was waking up every day wishing I could go play soccer again. I had played enough and long enough and done enough in my career that I was satisfied. But there is something special about being able to go out on a soccer field every day and run around and kick a ball. And I’ve really enjoyed it in the month that I’ve been here.”</p><p><strong>On whether he had ever come close to signing with a Mexican team in the past:</strong></p><p>“I had. My second stint that I went to Everton [in 2012], during that time Club América had reached out to my agent and told him that they were very interested in having me come on a short-term loan, like I did with Everton. And in the end I decided I was definitely interested in it. In the end I decided to go to Everton. It was something I knew. I knew the people. It was an enjoyable experience the previous time, so that was the decision. But it was certainly something I considered. For long stretches of my career, although it was very intriguing, candidly I just was concerned from a safety perspective, because I had said and done a lot of stupid things when I was young regarding the Mexican soccer team and the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico. I just didn’t know how I’d be received. I think as you get older and you have perspective and experience I realized that if not for that rivalry and if not for growing up playing with Mexicans I wouldn’t be the player I was. I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy playing as much in those rivalry games. I wouldn’t have learned to speak Spanish. I mean, there’s so much I can credit to the Mexican culture and society and people. And so when this opportunity came about, that was a big piece of it too.”</p><p><strong>On what he wanted to communicate when he joined Club León and said, “I don’t believe in walls”:</strong></p><p>“Unfortunately, as you know when you travel a lot, people perceive us as being the same as our politicians and in particular our president, right? So unfortunately everywhere I go these days it’s, ‘You guys are all racist. You all hate Mexicans. You hate Africans. You hate everybody else in the world.’ And everybody assumes we are like our president. And I just wanted to make sure that I was very clear with how I feel. I grew up in Southern California, so I have an affinity for not only Mexicans but all Latin-Americans. And my family is Canadian, and my dad came to America many years ago. So while I can understand some people’s political points of view in not wanting open borders, I’ve benefited greatly from it in many different ways. And I know many, many, many hundreds if not thousands of people who have become Americans or just contribute greatly to the American society. So I wanted the people here to know where I stood on that and make it very clear.”</p><p><strong>On what has been the hardest thing to adjust to in pure soccer terms playing again:</strong></p><p>“Just the physical piece of it. And it’s not just the running. I could run at home for five weeks, but you’re still not soccer fit. And then at altitude it’s at a whole different level. So the second day I trained, we did some drills where there are two big goals with goalies and you just play 1v1 against the player. And so you try to score and if you don’t score the other guy gets the ball and they try to score against you. And after like seven seconds I was exhausted, just because physically confronting someone like that is so different than even running or training. Then you throw in the altitude, too. So that piece of it—just getting my physical elements back—has been the hardest part, and I think we’re a month in and just now do I feel like I’m physically able to perform at the level that I want to.”</p><p><strong>On what’s realistic to expect from what he can do on the field at this stage of his career:</strong></p><p>“I look at it maybe differently than other people do. For me, the expectation is winning. And so I’m not worried about if I score, how I play, if I can still run the same way, if I’m getting assists. I want to help win. And I said that to the coach when I spoke to him the first time. I don’t want to come in and be the guy who’s taking someone’s spot or who’s being a distraction for the team. I just want to help. I don’t need accolades. I don’t need those things. I want to lift a trophy and be a part of something like that that’s special. So any way I can do that, I want. Now from the outside, I don’t know what people are expecting or what they think. But my expectation is to help in any way I can, even if it’s at halftime and I’m helping a young player position himself better so in the second half he doesn’t get beat and we don’t get scored on. That’s where my mindset is.”</p><p><strong>On whether he can be a 90-minute player now:</strong></p><p>“I haven’t thought about it much, but as you ask the question, I can be a 90-minute player, just probably not 35 times a year. So if there are games where that’s what’s asked for, of course I can do it. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. But if you ask me to do it three times in a week that’s probably not with a high quality of play. Again, the objective is to help, and if that means five minutes a game or a half-hour a game or 45 or 60 minutes a game, then that’s how I want to help.”</p><p><strong>On how he feels about Carlos Cordeiro winning the U.S. Soccer presidency:</strong></p><p>“In the end, there were probably three or four people I personally would have been O.K. with had they become the president, one of whom was Carlos Cordeiro. What I think I was worried about, and I think a lot of people in the soccer world were worried about, was one of the other four people becoming president and what that might have meant for U.S. Soccer. So it’s really easy when you’re sitting at home every day watching TV and sitting on the Internet to pick apart U.S. Soccer, to pick apart what’s good and what’s bad. But the reality is that there’s so much more involved, and 99 percent of the people have no idea what’s involved on a real level. And so I think in the end the right person won.</p><p>Carlos is someone I’ve always gotten along well with, someone who despite what fans think is not the establishment, is not the same as Sunil [Gulati] in any way. Carlos was the one person from everything I have heard who would stand up to Sunil in board meetings and stand up for things he believed in, even if they were unpopular. And so he is I think a good choice for the job, and I think he’ll do a very good job. I just think it was probably more than anything time for change. Sunil has done so much for soccer in this country and he has literally dedicated his life to making this thing better. And most people in our soccer world are relatively new fans, and so they don’t understand all that Sunil has done. I certainly do, and he’s going to be a big part of everything we do probably until he decides to not be, and it should be that way. And so he should be respected for that, but I think everyone realized, probably including Sunil as time has gone on, that it was time for change for everybody. And that change can be good if it’s handled in the right way.”</p><p><strong>On the four candidates he would have been O.K. with as U.S. Soccer president:</strong></p><p>“This is not necessarily an indictment on the four who I would not have been O.K. with. It’s just that I didn’t get to know enough from them. So I never spoke to Mike Winograd. I never spoke to Hope Solo in this circumstance. I briefly communicated with Paul Caligiuri, and I briefly communicated with [Eric] Wynalda. The other four reached out to me consistently and asked questions and kind of pitched their ideas. And I think although [Kyle] Martino wouldn’t have been the perfect choice in a lot of ways because of his lack of experience, I think his heart was in the right place and he would have done a good job. Kathy Carter is someone I’ve respected for a long time and has done a lot for soccer in this country. Obviously had some conflicts of interest that probably are what crippled her in the end. Carlos, I alluded to. And I spoke quite a few times with Steve Gans, who I grew to like and respect quite a bit. And I think his heart was absolutely in the right place. And this was something that he was really passionate about. So those four left a good impression on me.”</p><p><strong>On what he thinks is most important that needs to change in U.S. Soccer:</strong></p><p>“The part that I personally am most passionate about is youth development. And that goes for boys and girls, men and women. I don’t have the experience on the women’s side, so there would be people much better suited to handling that. But for me, the part that I’m most passionate about and that I think we still have a long way to go with is the youth development part. I just see too many really good players being developed around the world, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why we aren’t doing the same. My goal is I want to win a World Cup. Not me as a player, but as a U.S. Soccer fan I want to win a World Cup. And the way you do that is by developing players that can win a World Cup. And I just don’t think we’ve done a good enough job of it.”</p><p><strong>On being tied with Clint Dempsey as the all-time leading goal-scorer for the U.S. men’s national team, and whether Donovan has any interest in playing again for the national team:</strong></p><p>“Nobody knows this, but the only reason I decided to play again was to get another goal [laughs]. Of course, I have interest to play for the national team. But what I would say is my interest at this point, considering there’s no meaningful real games on the horizon—meaning qualifying or World Cups—and certainly by that point even if I want to keep playing my body won’t allow me to. What I would be interested in is helping. And if the idea is that for the next couple years there’s going to be a group of young players that are being brought in to get experience and learn, I would love to be there to help them through it. Not even necessarily playing, but just being in camp to help them and use my experience. So if that’s possible—and whoever the coach is is interested in that—I would absolutely love to do that and be a part of that. That would be fulfilling for me.”</p><p><strong>On who he would like to see as the next coach of the USMNT:</strong></p><p>“Personally, I would like to see an American. I think Americans as a general comment understand the American player better. They understand the league better. They understand the culture better. And it’s better for the development of our coaches in this country to have that experience. So there are a few coaches that I think would fit that bill as Americans … I think Peter Vermes has been excellent in Kansas City. I got to know him a little bit last year. [Gregg] Berhalter I think has done a really good job with very limited resources in comparison to some of the other teams. I think Greg Vanney has been terrific in Toronto. Caleb Porter has done a great job. Times are much different, and now there are a number of good young American coaches who have really done a good job, and they’re more in tune with the modern game and I think would be well-suited to coach the national team.”</p>
Landon Donovan: On His Return With León, U.S. Soccer's Present and USMNT's Future

On the new Planet Fútbol Podcast, Landon Donovan gave his most detailed interview yet since deciding to come out of retirement and play for Club León in Mexico. His interview touched on a wide range of topics, from what led to his decision to play in Mexico to what he’s capable of in pure soccer terms these days to his reaction to the U.S. Soccer election and who he would like to see as the next U.S. men’s national team coach.

Here are some of the standout quotes for Donovan’s long and candid interview, which can be listened to in full in the podcast console below (to subscribe to and download the podcast, you can find us on iTunes here):

On why he wanted to come out of retirement and play for Club León:

“It’s a simple question, not a simple answer. It wasn’t a slam-dunk yes, and it wasn’t a slam-dunk no when it happened. I was home, very happy in retirement with my family in San Diego, enjoying life, doing what I wanted when I wanted more or less. And I got a phone call from my agent, Richard Motzkin, asking if I had any remote interest in playing again. And I said, ‘No thanks. I appreciate it, but no.’ And he said, ‘OK, just so you know, a team in Mexico called and asked if you would have any interest in it.’ Kind of left it at that. So I went to sleep, didn’t think much of it. The next day he called back and said, ‘Listen, they’re really interested in having you come. They’re looking for a player that’s got experience and someone who can help them on the field, help them off the field. They would really like a chance to speak to you.’ And it sort of developed a little bit from there.”

“I maybe gave it a 1 percent chance at that point and told them I would keep an open mind about it. And as the day went on, I thought about it. I spoke to my wife quite a bit about it. And they kept calling and reaching out. The owner called and wanted to speak to me. In the end, it kind of goes to the power of going after something you want. And I give them a lot of credit for convincing me and making me feel wanted. I told my agent that I would make a trip down here to watch a cup game they had and kind of get to know the city a little bit and get to know the people involved. And I would come with an open mind. And sure enough, the minute I got here I really fell in love with it and thought it would be a great opportunity for my family, a great life experience and fun to play soccer again with good soccer players.”

On wanting to play the game again when he still has the opportunity in his life:

“It’s interesting. Because when you’re away from it, and you know as we’ve spent time on different road trips doing Fox telecasts, you see the game differently and it’s been enjoyable for me to be up in the booth commentating and watching the game and learning the game from a different perspective. But you also get excited, you know. The gamedays make me excited when we’re there in the MLS playoffs or we’re there at national team games. The gamedays are exciting, and that energy can’t be replaced or manufactured anywhere else in life. And so I have had some time to gather some perspective and realize that I’m 35, I’m going to be 36 soon. Just physically, there’s no way I could do this for many more years. So if it is something that in any way interests me I should think about it seriously. That was sort of the processing that I went through. Now it’s not like I was waking up every day wishing I could go play soccer again. I had played enough and long enough and done enough in my career that I was satisfied. But there is something special about being able to go out on a soccer field every day and run around and kick a ball. And I’ve really enjoyed it in the month that I’ve been here.”

On whether he had ever come close to signing with a Mexican team in the past:

“I had. My second stint that I went to Everton [in 2012], during that time Club América had reached out to my agent and told him that they were very interested in having me come on a short-term loan, like I did with Everton. And in the end I decided I was definitely interested in it. In the end I decided to go to Everton. It was something I knew. I knew the people. It was an enjoyable experience the previous time, so that was the decision. But it was certainly something I considered. For long stretches of my career, although it was very intriguing, candidly I just was concerned from a safety perspective, because I had said and done a lot of stupid things when I was young regarding the Mexican soccer team and the rivalry between the U.S. and Mexico. I just didn’t know how I’d be received. I think as you get older and you have perspective and experience I realized that if not for that rivalry and if not for growing up playing with Mexicans I wouldn’t be the player I was. I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy playing as much in those rivalry games. I wouldn’t have learned to speak Spanish. I mean, there’s so much I can credit to the Mexican culture and society and people. And so when this opportunity came about, that was a big piece of it too.”

On what he wanted to communicate when he joined Club León and said, “I don’t believe in walls”:

“Unfortunately, as you know when you travel a lot, people perceive us as being the same as our politicians and in particular our president, right? So unfortunately everywhere I go these days it’s, ‘You guys are all racist. You all hate Mexicans. You hate Africans. You hate everybody else in the world.’ And everybody assumes we are like our president. And I just wanted to make sure that I was very clear with how I feel. I grew up in Southern California, so I have an affinity for not only Mexicans but all Latin-Americans. And my family is Canadian, and my dad came to America many years ago. So while I can understand some people’s political points of view in not wanting open borders, I’ve benefited greatly from it in many different ways. And I know many, many, many hundreds if not thousands of people who have become Americans or just contribute greatly to the American society. So I wanted the people here to know where I stood on that and make it very clear.”

On what has been the hardest thing to adjust to in pure soccer terms playing again:

“Just the physical piece of it. And it’s not just the running. I could run at home for five weeks, but you’re still not soccer fit. And then at altitude it’s at a whole different level. So the second day I trained, we did some drills where there are two big goals with goalies and you just play 1v1 against the player. And so you try to score and if you don’t score the other guy gets the ball and they try to score against you. And after like seven seconds I was exhausted, just because physically confronting someone like that is so different than even running or training. Then you throw in the altitude, too. So that piece of it—just getting my physical elements back—has been the hardest part, and I think we’re a month in and just now do I feel like I’m physically able to perform at the level that I want to.”

On what’s realistic to expect from what he can do on the field at this stage of his career:

“I look at it maybe differently than other people do. For me, the expectation is winning. And so I’m not worried about if I score, how I play, if I can still run the same way, if I’m getting assists. I want to help win. And I said that to the coach when I spoke to him the first time. I don’t want to come in and be the guy who’s taking someone’s spot or who’s being a distraction for the team. I just want to help. I don’t need accolades. I don’t need those things. I want to lift a trophy and be a part of something like that that’s special. So any way I can do that, I want. Now from the outside, I don’t know what people are expecting or what they think. But my expectation is to help in any way I can, even if it’s at halftime and I’m helping a young player position himself better so in the second half he doesn’t get beat and we don’t get scored on. That’s where my mindset is.”

On whether he can be a 90-minute player now:

“I haven’t thought about it much, but as you ask the question, I can be a 90-minute player, just probably not 35 times a year. So if there are games where that’s what’s asked for, of course I can do it. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. But if you ask me to do it three times in a week that’s probably not with a high quality of play. Again, the objective is to help, and if that means five minutes a game or a half-hour a game or 45 or 60 minutes a game, then that’s how I want to help.”

On how he feels about Carlos Cordeiro winning the U.S. Soccer presidency:

“In the end, there were probably three or four people I personally would have been O.K. with had they become the president, one of whom was Carlos Cordeiro. What I think I was worried about, and I think a lot of people in the soccer world were worried about, was one of the other four people becoming president and what that might have meant for U.S. Soccer. So it’s really easy when you’re sitting at home every day watching TV and sitting on the Internet to pick apart U.S. Soccer, to pick apart what’s good and what’s bad. But the reality is that there’s so much more involved, and 99 percent of the people have no idea what’s involved on a real level. And so I think in the end the right person won.

Carlos is someone I’ve always gotten along well with, someone who despite what fans think is not the establishment, is not the same as Sunil [Gulati] in any way. Carlos was the one person from everything I have heard who would stand up to Sunil in board meetings and stand up for things he believed in, even if they were unpopular. And so he is I think a good choice for the job, and I think he’ll do a very good job. I just think it was probably more than anything time for change. Sunil has done so much for soccer in this country and he has literally dedicated his life to making this thing better. And most people in our soccer world are relatively new fans, and so they don’t understand all that Sunil has done. I certainly do, and he’s going to be a big part of everything we do probably until he decides to not be, and it should be that way. And so he should be respected for that, but I think everyone realized, probably including Sunil as time has gone on, that it was time for change for everybody. And that change can be good if it’s handled in the right way.”

On the four candidates he would have been O.K. with as U.S. Soccer president:

“This is not necessarily an indictment on the four who I would not have been O.K. with. It’s just that I didn’t get to know enough from them. So I never spoke to Mike Winograd. I never spoke to Hope Solo in this circumstance. I briefly communicated with Paul Caligiuri, and I briefly communicated with [Eric] Wynalda. The other four reached out to me consistently and asked questions and kind of pitched their ideas. And I think although [Kyle] Martino wouldn’t have been the perfect choice in a lot of ways because of his lack of experience, I think his heart was in the right place and he would have done a good job. Kathy Carter is someone I’ve respected for a long time and has done a lot for soccer in this country. Obviously had some conflicts of interest that probably are what crippled her in the end. Carlos, I alluded to. And I spoke quite a few times with Steve Gans, who I grew to like and respect quite a bit. And I think his heart was absolutely in the right place. And this was something that he was really passionate about. So those four left a good impression on me.”

On what he thinks is most important that needs to change in U.S. Soccer:

“The part that I personally am most passionate about is youth development. And that goes for boys and girls, men and women. I don’t have the experience on the women’s side, so there would be people much better suited to handling that. But for me, the part that I’m most passionate about and that I think we still have a long way to go with is the youth development part. I just see too many really good players being developed around the world, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why we aren’t doing the same. My goal is I want to win a World Cup. Not me as a player, but as a U.S. Soccer fan I want to win a World Cup. And the way you do that is by developing players that can win a World Cup. And I just don’t think we’ve done a good enough job of it.”

On being tied with Clint Dempsey as the all-time leading goal-scorer for the U.S. men’s national team, and whether Donovan has any interest in playing again for the national team:

“Nobody knows this, but the only reason I decided to play again was to get another goal [laughs]. Of course, I have interest to play for the national team. But what I would say is my interest at this point, considering there’s no meaningful real games on the horizon—meaning qualifying or World Cups—and certainly by that point even if I want to keep playing my body won’t allow me to. What I would be interested in is helping. And if the idea is that for the next couple years there’s going to be a group of young players that are being brought in to get experience and learn, I would love to be there to help them through it. Not even necessarily playing, but just being in camp to help them and use my experience. So if that’s possible—and whoever the coach is is interested in that—I would absolutely love to do that and be a part of that. That would be fulfilling for me.”

On who he would like to see as the next coach of the USMNT:

“Personally, I would like to see an American. I think Americans as a general comment understand the American player better. They understand the league better. They understand the culture better. And it’s better for the development of our coaches in this country to have that experience. So there are a few coaches that I think would fit that bill as Americans … I think Peter Vermes has been excellent in Kansas City. I got to know him a little bit last year. [Gregg] Berhalter I think has done a really good job with very limited resources in comparison to some of the other teams. I think Greg Vanney has been terrific in Toronto. Caleb Porter has done a great job. Times are much different, and now there are a number of good young American coaches who have really done a good job, and they’re more in tune with the modern game and I think would be well-suited to coach the national team.”

<p>Soccer player Hope Solo </p>
Olympians on DWTS

Soccer player Hope Solo

The former USWNT goalkeeper was one of eight candidates running in the USSF presidential election.
Hope Solo says Athletes Council “cracked under pressure”
The former USWNT goalkeeper was one of eight candidates running in the USSF presidential election.
The former USWNT goalkeeper was one of eight candidates running in the USSF presidential election.
Hope Solo says Athletes Council “cracked under pressure”
The former USWNT goalkeeper was one of eight candidates running in the USSF presidential election.
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Denmark at U.S.A.
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Denmark at U.S.A.
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Denmark at U.S.A.
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Cordeiro, a Harvard-educated former investment banker, came through a crowded field of eight contenders to win on a third ballot at the USSF&#39;s annual meeting in Orlando.
Carlos Cordeiro pips Hope Solo, others to be elected as President of United States Soccer Federation
Cordeiro, a Harvard-educated former investment banker, came through a crowded field of eight contenders to win on a third ballot at the USSF's annual meeting in Orlando.
FILE PHOTO: Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Denmark at U.S.A.
FILE PHOTO: Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Hope Solo ripped new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro in her pre-election speech
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports/Files
Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Denmark at U.S.A.
Jan 21, 2018; San Diego, CA, USA; United States soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro (right) presents former player Hope Solo a commemorative jersey celebrating her 200th appearance for the womens national team before a game against Denmark at SDCCU Stadium. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports/Files
<p>For the first time since 2006, there is a new U.S. Soccer president, and that distinction belongs to Carlos Cordeiro. </p><p>Sunil Gulati&#39;s successor was chosen at U.S. Soccer&#39;s Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, where the election determined which of the eight candidates will lead the federation forward. That choice is Cordeiro, the sitting vice president of U.S. Soccer who will move to the top seat.</p><p>Those candidates entering the election were Paul Caligiuri, Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd and Eric Wynalda. According to SI&#39;s Grant Wahl, <a href="https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/962338524333821954" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cordeiro had received the support of the Athlete&#39;s Council" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cordeiro had received the support of the Athlete&#39;s Council</a>, which carries 20% of the weighted vote prior to the election, while <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/08/us-soccer-president-election-nwsl-kathy-carter-votes-mls" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Carter had the support of the Professional Council" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Carter had the support of the Professional Council</a>, which was a shade over 24% of the vote.</p><p><em>(For more on Cordeiro and his vision, check out his interviews <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/06/carlos-cordeiro-us-soccer-election-president-chuck-blazer-sunil-gulati" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:with SI&#39;s Grant Wahl" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">with SI&#39;s Grant Wahl</a> and <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/12/20/carlos-cordeiro-us-soccer-president-election-platform" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Brian Straus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Brian Straus</a>).</em></p><p>Each of the candidates had five minutes to speak at the National Council Meeting prior to the election.</p><p>Watch the stream of the event, via U.S. Soccer, below:</p><p>The first round of voting did not yield a winner, with a simple majority required. </p><p>Caligiuri, who received the least amount of votes, withdrew after the first round.</p><p>After the second round of voting, Cordeiro gained ground on reaching that 50%+1 benchmark, but he didn&#39;t quite reach it. Winograd, who received no votes on the second ballot, subsequently withdrew, and so did Gans, leaving five candidates.</p><p>Cordeiro received the boost he needed in the third round of voting to win the presidency.</p><p>Cordeiro will assume Gulati&#39;s seat with immediate effect and embark on a four-year term, while the outgoing president will remain in his role on the FIFA Council while also spearheading the USA&#39;s joint effort with Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup.</p>
Carlos Cordeiro Wins U.S. Soccer Election, Becomes Federation President

For the first time since 2006, there is a new U.S. Soccer president, and that distinction belongs to Carlos Cordeiro.

Sunil Gulati's successor was chosen at U.S. Soccer's Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, where the election determined which of the eight candidates will lead the federation forward. That choice is Cordeiro, the sitting vice president of U.S. Soccer who will move to the top seat.

Those candidates entering the election were Paul Caligiuri, Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd and Eric Wynalda. According to SI's Grant Wahl, Cordeiro had received the support of the Athlete's Council, which carries 20% of the weighted vote prior to the election, while Carter had the support of the Professional Council, which was a shade over 24% of the vote.

(For more on Cordeiro and his vision, check out his interviews with SI's Grant Wahl and Brian Straus).

Each of the candidates had five minutes to speak at the National Council Meeting prior to the election.

Watch the stream of the event, via U.S. Soccer, below:

The first round of voting did not yield a winner, with a simple majority required.

Caligiuri, who received the least amount of votes, withdrew after the first round.

After the second round of voting, Cordeiro gained ground on reaching that 50%+1 benchmark, but he didn't quite reach it. Winograd, who received no votes on the second ballot, subsequently withdrew, and so did Gans, leaving five candidates.

Cordeiro received the boost he needed in the third round of voting to win the presidency.

Cordeiro will assume Gulati's seat with immediate effect and embark on a four-year term, while the outgoing president will remain in his role on the FIFA Council while also spearheading the USA's joint effort with Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup.

<p>For the first time since 2006, there will be a new U.S. Soccer president. </p><p>Sunil Gulati&#39;s successor will be chosen at U.S. Soccer&#39;s Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, where the election will determine which of the eight candidates will lead the federation forward.</p><p>Those candidates are (alphabetically): Paul Caligiuri, Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd and Eric Wynalda. According to SI&#39;s Grant Wahl, <a href="https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/962338524333821954" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cordeiro has received the support of the Athlete&#39;s Council" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cordeiro has received the support of the Athlete&#39;s Council</a>, which carries 20% of the weighted vote, while <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/08/us-soccer-president-election-nwsl-kathy-carter-votes-mls" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Carter has the support of the Professional Council" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Carter has the support of the Professional Council</a>, which is a shade over 24% of the vote.</p><p>Each of the candidates had five minutes to speak at the National Council Meeting prior to the election.</p><p>Watch the live stream of the event, via U.S. Soccer, below:</p><p>The first round of voting did not yield a winner, with a simple majority required. </p><p>Caligiuri, who received the least amount of votes, withdrew after the first round.</p><p>After the second round of voting, Cordeiro gained ground on reaching that 50%+1 benchmark, but he didn&#39;t quite reach it. Winograd, who received no votes on the second ballot, subsequently withdrew, and so did Gans, leaving five candidates.</p><p>The winner will assume Gulati&#39;s seat with immediate effect, while the outgoing president will remain in his role on the FIFA Council while also spearheading the USA&#39;s joint effort with Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup.</p>
LIVE STREAM: Watch the U.S. Soccer Presidential Election

For the first time since 2006, there will be a new U.S. Soccer president.

Sunil Gulati's successor will be chosen at U.S. Soccer's Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, where the election will determine which of the eight candidates will lead the federation forward.

Those candidates are (alphabetically): Paul Caligiuri, Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd and Eric Wynalda. According to SI's Grant Wahl, Cordeiro has received the support of the Athlete's Council, which carries 20% of the weighted vote, while Carter has the support of the Professional Council, which is a shade over 24% of the vote.

Each of the candidates had five minutes to speak at the National Council Meeting prior to the election.

Watch the live stream of the event, via U.S. Soccer, below:

The first round of voting did not yield a winner, with a simple majority required.

Caligiuri, who received the least amount of votes, withdrew after the first round.

After the second round of voting, Cordeiro gained ground on reaching that 50%+1 benchmark, but he didn't quite reach it. Winograd, who received no votes on the second ballot, subsequently withdrew, and so did Gans, leaving five candidates.

The winner will assume Gulati's seat with immediate effect, while the outgoing president will remain in his role on the FIFA Council while also spearheading the USA's joint effort with Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup.

<p>ORLANDO, Fla. — So what the heck happened here on Thursday night?</p><p>With <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/08/us-soccer-president-election-nwsl-kathy-carter-votes-mls" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on-leave SUM president Kathy Carter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on-leave SUM president Kathy Carter</a> and <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/06/carlos-cordeiro-us-soccer-election-president-chuck-blazer-sunil-gulati" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro</a> expected to be the most heavily supported candidates in round one of Saturday’s <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/08/us-soccer-president-election-orlando-votes-candidates" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:U.S. Soccer presidential election" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">U.S. Soccer presidential election</a>, the other six communicated on Thursday about the possibility of issuing a public statement that they are the “change” candidates and asking voters to support “change” on Saturday.</p><p>Those six candidates—Paul Caligiuri, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd and Eric Wynalda—are hoping that Carter will not get the necessary winning majority in the first round of voting and that voters would support a “change” candidate in subsequent rounds. Their concern is that Cordeiro is gaining some traction among some voters as a “change” candidate, and they wanted to make it clear that they don’t believe that to be the case.</p><p>In other words, a public group statement would be designed to try to prevent Cordeiro from winning the election in round two.</p><p>One additional possibility would be for “change” candidates to ask their supporters to coalesce around the one who has the most votes among them from round one in subsequent rounds.</p><p>According to accounts from several of the people involved, Thursday night’s effort had a number of positive moments as some members of the group found common ground that hadn’t been achieved before. Ultimately, though, those discussions were not able to unite all six candidates and left some of them angry or dismayed by what had transpired.</p><p>Some of the candidates were still hoping to release an agreed-upon statement on Friday, but it seemed unlikely that all six would sign onto it.</p><p>What happened? Based on those accounts, five of the six candidates—all but Caligiuri—spoke together on Thursday in a meeting room on the second floor of the Renaissance Orlando at Sea World hotel, the hub of U.S. Soccer’s Annual General Meeting. The Gans camp volunteered to write a draft of a statement that would be issued publicly by the group.</p><p>Later in the evening, the four candidates other than Gans came one by one into Gans’s hotel suite to look at the draft. Winograd, perhaps the most word-conscious candidate of the group, did not want the statement to include anything that could be construed as negative campaigning against Carter and Cordeiro.</p><p>The camp of Wynalda, one of the most outspoken of the group, wanted the statement to include language on what the candidates would do after the first round of voting. That met opposition, which initially caused the Wynalda camp to withdraw, but he later rejoined the group.</p><p>Multiple candidates—none more so than Winograd, who ended up walking out—were left unhappy with the Gans group for a few reasons:</p><p>• It had let a media member, the respected <a href="https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/961836906710425601" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Washington Post reporter Steven Goff," class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Washington Post</i> reporter Steven Goff,</a> into the Gans hotel suite to observe without telling them ahead of time. (The Gans campaign had issued an open invitation to media to drop by the campaign hub for a bite to eat or to say hello, without mentioning anything about the statement proposal.)</p><p>• It had allowed a photograph of an unapproved draft statement (<a href="https://twitter.com/JeffreyCarlisle/status/961821340356378624" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“From 6 of the 8 Candidates”" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“From 6 of the 8 Candidates”</a>) to be taken and then published on Twitter without the consent of all six candidates. At least one candidate felt the Gans camp leaked the photo expressly because not all six had been willing to agree on it. Another candidate proposed leaving Gans out of the group altogether. (As of Friday afternoon, though, Gans was still part of the group that was expected to sign onto a statement.)</p><p>Making matters even more curious, <a href="https://twitter.com/GrantWahl/status/961977259312730112" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Caligiuri told SI.com on Friday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Caligiuri told SI.com on Friday</a> that he had not been at the meetings and had not seen the draft statement, but other candidates said Caligiuri had been shown a draft near the hotel elevator bank at one point in the evening.</p>
Details of Candidates' Backroom U.S. Soccer Election Deal to Mobilize vs. Carter, Cordeiro

ORLANDO, Fla. — So what the heck happened here on Thursday night?

With on-leave SUM president Kathy Carter and U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro expected to be the most heavily supported candidates in round one of Saturday’s U.S. Soccer presidential election, the other six communicated on Thursday about the possibility of issuing a public statement that they are the “change” candidates and asking voters to support “change” on Saturday.

Those six candidates—Paul Caligiuri, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo, Michael Winograd and Eric Wynalda—are hoping that Carter will not get the necessary winning majority in the first round of voting and that voters would support a “change” candidate in subsequent rounds. Their concern is that Cordeiro is gaining some traction among some voters as a “change” candidate, and they wanted to make it clear that they don’t believe that to be the case.

In other words, a public group statement would be designed to try to prevent Cordeiro from winning the election in round two.

One additional possibility would be for “change” candidates to ask their supporters to coalesce around the one who has the most votes among them from round one in subsequent rounds.

According to accounts from several of the people involved, Thursday night’s effort had a number of positive moments as some members of the group found common ground that hadn’t been achieved before. Ultimately, though, those discussions were not able to unite all six candidates and left some of them angry or dismayed by what had transpired.

Some of the candidates were still hoping to release an agreed-upon statement on Friday, but it seemed unlikely that all six would sign onto it.

What happened? Based on those accounts, five of the six candidates—all but Caligiuri—spoke together on Thursday in a meeting room on the second floor of the Renaissance Orlando at Sea World hotel, the hub of U.S. Soccer’s Annual General Meeting. The Gans camp volunteered to write a draft of a statement that would be issued publicly by the group.

Later in the evening, the four candidates other than Gans came one by one into Gans’s hotel suite to look at the draft. Winograd, perhaps the most word-conscious candidate of the group, did not want the statement to include anything that could be construed as negative campaigning against Carter and Cordeiro.

The camp of Wynalda, one of the most outspoken of the group, wanted the statement to include language on what the candidates would do after the first round of voting. That met opposition, which initially caused the Wynalda camp to withdraw, but he later rejoined the group.

Multiple candidates—none more so than Winograd, who ended up walking out—were left unhappy with the Gans group for a few reasons:

• It had let a media member, the respected Washington Post reporter Steven Goff, into the Gans hotel suite to observe without telling them ahead of time. (The Gans campaign had issued an open invitation to media to drop by the campaign hub for a bite to eat or to say hello, without mentioning anything about the statement proposal.)

• It had allowed a photograph of an unapproved draft statement (“From 6 of the 8 Candidates”) to be taken and then published on Twitter without the consent of all six candidates. At least one candidate felt the Gans camp leaked the photo expressly because not all six had been willing to agree on it. Another candidate proposed leaving Gans out of the group altogether. (As of Friday afternoon, though, Gans was still part of the group that was expected to sign onto a statement.)

Making matters even more curious, Caligiuri told SI.com on Friday that he had not been at the meetings and had not seen the draft statement, but other candidates said Caligiuri had been shown a draft near the hotel elevator bank at one point in the evening.

<p>On the new episode of the Planet Fútbol podcast, U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Paul Caligiuri tells us why he thinks he should be elected in this Saturday’s eight-candidate election. Caligiuri, who played in two World Cups and <a href="https://www.si.com/longform/soccer-goals/goal1.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:scored the goal that sent the U.S. to World Cup 1990" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">scored the goal that sent the U.S. to World Cup 1990</a>, is one of four former national team players in the race.</p><p>Caligiuri is the seventh of the eight candidates to appear on the Planet Fútbol podcast—all except Hope Solo, who was invited to come on the show. If you’re interested in hearing those in-depth discussions with the candidates ahead of Saturday’s vote, they’re in <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/planet-f%C3%BAtbol-with-grant-wahl/id999062153?ls=1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:our podcast archive on iTunes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">our podcast archive on iTunes</a> and you can also find those links here:</p><p>• <em><a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/12/07/kathy-carter-us-soccer-election-president-sunil-gulati-sum" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kathy Carter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Kathy Carter</a> | <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/06/carlos-cordeiro-us-soccer-election-president-chuck-blazer-sunil-gulati" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Carlos Cordeiro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Carlos Cordeiro</a> | <a href="https://go.redirectingat.com/?id=58287X1517247&#38;xs=1&#38;isjs=1&#38;url=https%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fpodcast%2Fsteve-gans-u-s-soccer-presidential-candidate%2Fid999062153%3Fi%3D1000397733233%26ls%3D1&#38;xguid=cb9b6624e318b516251d41c330c7d9ac&#38;xuuid=bae04e7ec7291bb9c946c858bbe3c433&#38;xsessid=cec2329cd9621500832d5696561099af&#38;xcreo=0&#38;xed=0&#38;sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.si.com%2Fsoccer%2F2018%2F02%2F06%2Fcarlos-cordeiro-us-soccer-election-president-chuck-blazer-sunil-gulati&#38;pref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.si.com%2Fplanet-futbol&#38;xtz=300&#38;abp=1" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Steve Gans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Steve Gans</a> | <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/12/14/kyle-martino-us-soccer-president-election-podcast" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Kyle Martino" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Kyle Martino</a> | <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/01/18/michael-winograd-us-soccer-president-election-pro-rel-campaign" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Michael Winograd" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Michael Winograd</a> | <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/11/30/eric-wynalda-us-soccer-president-election" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Eric Wynalda" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Eric Wynalda</a></em></p><p>On the podcast, Caligiuri explains one of his ideas that he would try to implement if he becomes federation president. The full episode can be heard below:</p><p>“One of my proposals would be through the Olympic Development Program, ODP, that all high school varsity coaches would be trained and provided resources to become ODP scouts. And what that does overnight, imagine, it brings U.S. Soccer into every community in this country. Not some. Every community. It raises our value as a property, an investment. Corporate America would love to have access to that. And when I think about that, sure, we may not use the names of the high schools, but think about the growth that can happen from there.</p><p>“Maybe we do align ourselves eventually with the high schools. Because U.S. Soccer can help brand the high schools, and maybe a corporate sponsor like Nike or Adidas will be supplying their uniforms in their high schools because of our relationships and the growth. And that’s how we cultivate and get into our communities, especially these communities where I’ve heard that U.S. Soccer needs to have a culture of soccer. We do. It exists in those communities. And those communities are what we need to really focus on and not only be including them into our system but provide them access to opportunities that exist in U.S. Soccer.”</p>
U.S. Soccer Election Candidate Paul Caligiuri Explains His Grassroots Plan

On the new episode of the Planet Fútbol podcast, U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Paul Caligiuri tells us why he thinks he should be elected in this Saturday’s eight-candidate election. Caligiuri, who played in two World Cups and scored the goal that sent the U.S. to World Cup 1990, is one of four former national team players in the race.

Caligiuri is the seventh of the eight candidates to appear on the Planet Fútbol podcast—all except Hope Solo, who was invited to come on the show. If you’re interested in hearing those in-depth discussions with the candidates ahead of Saturday’s vote, they’re in our podcast archive on iTunes and you can also find those links here:

Kathy Carter | Carlos Cordeiro | Steve Gans | Kyle Martino | Michael Winograd | Eric Wynalda

On the podcast, Caligiuri explains one of his ideas that he would try to implement if he becomes federation president. The full episode can be heard below:

“One of my proposals would be through the Olympic Development Program, ODP, that all high school varsity coaches would be trained and provided resources to become ODP scouts. And what that does overnight, imagine, it brings U.S. Soccer into every community in this country. Not some. Every community. It raises our value as a property, an investment. Corporate America would love to have access to that. And when I think about that, sure, we may not use the names of the high schools, but think about the growth that can happen from there.

“Maybe we do align ourselves eventually with the high schools. Because U.S. Soccer can help brand the high schools, and maybe a corporate sponsor like Nike or Adidas will be supplying their uniforms in their high schools because of our relationships and the growth. And that’s how we cultivate and get into our communities, especially these communities where I’ve heard that U.S. Soccer needs to have a culture of soccer. We do. It exists in those communities. And those communities are what we need to really focus on and not only be including them into our system but provide them access to opportunities that exist in U.S. Soccer.”

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2016, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo stands as players listen to the national anthems before a women&#39;s Olympic football tournament match against New Zealand at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The former U.S. women&#39;s national team goalkeeper, among eight candidates running in the Feb. 10 election to succeed Sunil Gulati as USSF president, has filed a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the U.S. Olympic Committee, accusing it of illegally favoring Major League Soccer. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio, File)
Solo files complaint with USOC over US Soccer Federation
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2016, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo stands as players listen to the national anthems before a women's Olympic football tournament match against New Zealand at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper, among eight candidates running in the Feb. 10 election to succeed Sunil Gulati as USSF president, has filed a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the U.S. Olympic Committee, accusing it of illegally favoring Major League Soccer. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio, File)
Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 before an international friendly soccer match between the United States and Denmark on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Solo files complaint with USOC over US Soccer Federation
Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 before an international friendly soccer match between the United States and Denmark on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2016, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo stands as players listen to the national anthems before a women&#39;s Olympic football tournament match against New Zealand at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The former U.S. women&#39;s national team goalkeeper, among eight candidates running in the Feb. 10 election to succeed Sunil Gulati as USSF president, has filed a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the U.S. Olympic Committee, accusing it of illegally favoring Major League Soccer. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2016, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo stands as players listen to the national anthems before a women's Olympic football tournament match against New Zealand at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper, among eight candidates running in the Feb. 10 election to succeed Sunil Gulati as USSF president, has filed a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the U.S. Olympic Committee, accusing it of illegally favoring Major League Soccer. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2016, file photo, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo stands as players listen to the national anthems before a women's Olympic football tournament match against New Zealand at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The former U.S. women's national team goalkeeper, among eight candidates running in the Feb. 10 election to succeed Sunil Gulati as USSF president, has filed a complaint against the U.S. Soccer Federation with the U.S. Olympic Committee, accusing it of illegally favoring Major League Soccer. (AP Photo/Eugenio Savio, File)
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper Hope Solo's image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game "FIFA 16" in Los Angeles June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 29 JAN FOR ALL IMAGES
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper Hope Solo's image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game "FIFA 16" in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper Hope Solo's image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game "FIFA 16" in Los Angeles June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 29 JAN FOR ALL IMAGES
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team&#39;s goalkeeper Hope Solo&#39;s image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game &quot;FIFA 16&quot; in Los Angeles June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 29 JAN FOR ALL IMAGES
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper Hope Solo's image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game "FIFA 16" in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper Hope Solo's image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game "FIFA 16" in Los Angeles June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 29 JAN FOR ALL IMAGES
Legendary USWNT goalkeeper and current presidential candidate Hope Solo took a massive shot at the U.S. Soccer establishment on Tuesday.
Presidential candidate Solo files complaint against U.S. Soccer
Legendary USWNT goalkeeper and current presidential candidate Hope Solo took a massive shot at the U.S. Soccer establishment on Tuesday.
Legendary USWNT goalkeeper and current presidential candidate Hope Solo took a massive shot at the U.S. Soccer establishment on Tuesday.
Presidential candidate Solo files complaint against U.S. Soccer
Legendary USWNT goalkeeper and current presidential candidate Hope Solo took a massive shot at the U.S. Soccer establishment on Tuesday.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team&#39;s goalkeeper Hope Solo&#39;s image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game &quot;FIFA 16&quot; in Los Angeles June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 29 JAN FOR ALL IMAGES
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper Hope Solo's image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game "FIFA 16" in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: U.S. national soccer team's goalkeeper Hope Solo's image is shown on the screen as David Rutter, vice president and general manager of EA Sports FIFA, introduces the video game "FIFA 16" in Los Angeles June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 29 JAN FOR ALL IMAGES
Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 before an international friendly soccer match between the United States and Denmark on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 before an international friendly soccer match between the United States and Denmark on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 before an international friendly soccer match between the United States and Denmark on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo reacts during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Former United States goalkeeper Hope Solo poses with a jersey with the number 200 during ceremony before an international friendly soccer match against Denmark Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in San Diego. Solo appeared in 202 games for the national team, most for any goalkeeper in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Hope Solo presented honorary jersey by same man she called out personally the day before
Hope Solo presented honorary jersey by same man she called out personally the day before
Hope Solo presented honorary jersey by same man she called out personally the day before
Hope Solo presented honorary jersey by same man she called out personally the day before
Hope Solo presented honorary jersey by same man she called out personally the day before
Hope Solo presented honorary jersey by same man she called out personally the day before
<p>PHILADELPHIA — Sunil Gulati decided about six weeks ago not to seek a fourth term as U.S. Soccer Federation president, but the eight-candidate battle royale that’ll determine his replacement next month has, at times, made him feel like he’s still in the thick of the race.</p><p>To one extent or another, all eight are running against Gulati’s record.</p><p>“I fully appreciate than when you’re running for office as a non-incumbent, you’ve got to say, ‘I’m in favor of change,’” he said.</p><p>During a Thursday Q&#38;A at the annual United Soccer Coaches convention, Gulati acknowledged his record was sullied by the USA’s failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup. But 12 years at the federation’s helm, and his more than three decades in the sport, shouldn’t be evaluated based on one result, he argued. That’s why Gulati said he didn’t resign immediately after the October loss in Trinidad and why he told moderator Alexi Lalas that some of the recent politicking has disappointed him.</p><p>“I have found a lot of the discourse depressing and disgusting, frankly,” Gulati told the gathering at the Philadelphia Convention Center. “I’ve been to the last 34 U.S. Soccer AGMs … and I’ve been to the last 30 out of 31 of these conventions, and at all those AGMs, the mood’s been really good. Finances, teams and everything else … across the board. And then it seems the world fell apart in the last 30 days.”</p><p>He continued, tongue-in-cheek, “There are [complaints] about the [qualifier]. But it’s about everything. It’s about transparency. It’s about on-field performance. It’s about decision making. It’s about the failure of everyone in the room, and I’m at the top of that. Because the sport is completely broken and nothing good is going on. That’s all nonsense.”</p><p>The eight presidential candidates also are at the convention, where more than 12,000 coaches and soccer stakeholders will be meeting through Sunday. They’ll participate in an open forum on Saturday. Among those vying for Gulati’s office are four former players (Paul Caligiuri, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo and Eric Wynalda), two current administrators (Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter and USSF VP Carlos Cordeiro) and two independent attorneys (Steve Gans and Michael Winograd).</p><p>Gulati, who attended a dinner last month with Carter, MLS commissioner Don Garber and voters from two state associations, answered, “possibly” when Lalas asked if he was supporting a particular candidate. But he stopped short of naming names.</p><p>“You can support someone without endorsing them. In the last week, I’ve talked to three candidates. Two have asked for advice and one got some advice without asking for it,” he said. “I’ll make a public endorsement when I’m ready to do that.”</p><p>Lalas wondered if Gulati was “impressed” with any of the eight candidates.</p><p>“We certainly have some I think are more qualified than others, and some that are far less qualified than what I think is appropriate for the office,” Gulati said.</p><p>“Can we make improvements in all those areas I just touched on? The answer is, of course we can,” he added.</p><p>But tough decisions, competing constituencies and financial realities make many of the “nonsensical solutions that are being proposed by candidates,” unrealistic for the USSF, Gulati said.</p><p>If there was a primary takeaway from the the Q&#38;A, at least as far as the election is concerned, it’s that Gulati is convinced his successor will find sitting in his seat far more complicated than criticizing his performance.</p><p>Nonsensical solutions?</p><p>“Like what,” Lalas asked.</p><p>“How many of them do you want? We only have an hour,” Gulati shot back.</p><p>He then rattled off three issues that fall into the far-easier-to-identify-than-solve category.</p><h3><b>‘Pay to play’ in youth soccer</b></h3><p>U.S. Soccer currently has a $150 million surplus, Gulati confirmed (a healthy chunk of which—around $60 million—was earned thanks to the Copa América Centenario in 2016). But he claimed the federation would have to “generate $150 million a month, every month,” to end pay-to-play.</p><p>“There’s nowhere in the world that has no play-to-play. What you want to do is make sure that anybody who can’t afford it [has access], but you’ve got millions of kids playing and the thought that we’re going to end pay-to-play is nonsensical,” he said.</p><h3><b>Promotion and relegation</b></h3><p>Gulati insisted he was “agnostic” on the issue of promotion and relegation, while stressing that instituting it “the day after tomorrow” also was an impossibility.</p><p>“There’s a whole bunch of people that came in on one set of rules. And some of them paid $150 million and built a stadium for another $250 million based on a certain set of rules,” Gulati said of MLS owners. “If they sit down and talk with other leagues and decide, ‘We want to do this, promotion and relegation, for all the reasons people think are positive’—fantastic. We, as a federation, aren’t going to be able to legislate it. And anyone who thinks we can without everyone’s agreement is going to end up with nine judges in Washington.”</p><p>Lalas asked if FIFA could force MLS’s collective hand.</p><p>“Then they’re going to end up with nine judges in Washington,” Gulati answered.</p><p>“There are some pros and there are some negatives. And I’ve read and looked at and talked to people about all of those things,” he continued. “In a salary cap world, when you don’t have 60 teams or three divisions and you’re starting from scratch, shouldn’t [pro/rel] be the way to go? There’s no evidence of that. There are some big-time pros … Is that possible? Sure. But my point is that it’s not in the hands of the federation president.”</p><h3><b>The professional calendar</b></h3><p>USSF presidential candidates aren’t the only ones suggesting that MLS (or American pro soccer in general) run a fall-to-spring season like the big European leagues. Long-time FIFA kingpin Sepp Blatter did as well as the USA was bidding to host the 2022 World Cup.</p><p>During that time, Gulati said, MLS “looked it at every which way, upside-down and backwards.”</p><p>Gulati said he told Blatter, “New York and Toronto are not London in January. They are Moscow and Helsinki in January.”</p><p>Blatter then made a curving motion with his hands and said, “You must do this…You must have domed stadiums.”</p><p>Gulati replied, “So now we’re going to build soccer-specific domed stadiums? And seven years ago, MLS wasn’t exactly cash positive. … I’d love to see the season a little bit longer, in terms of player development. And all the technical guys agree with me on that. But the thought that we can have a month break in December and January, what do you do? We’re going to play on March 4 in New York at Red Bull [Arena] with the women’s team. This isn’t worrying about the temperature being 12 degrees or 28 degrees. We could have two feet of snow on the ground.”</p><p>Ideally, MLS wouldn&#39;t play during FIFA international windows. The league feels the same way, Gulati said. But weather, TV considerations, stadium availability, the school year and a host of other factors compete for schedulers’ attention.</p><p>“My point about the nonsensical solutions—some of them may be solutions—but it’s not as if no one knows about it, or no one hasn’t thought about them,” he said. “It’s not of lack of knowledge of the issues. You just can’t do everything you want as quickly as you [want].”</p><p>Gulati said there were things he was proud of during his 12-year tenure, things he wish had gone better, criticism that was baseless and criticism that was fair. And he took “full blame” for the World Cup qualification failure. But his successor undoubtedly will leave with a nuanced legacy as well, and it didn’t sound like Gulati felt the candidates fully appreciate the complexity of his position. There, the questions are almost as convoluted as the answers.</p><p>“People are saying a lot of things they can’t possibly live up to,” Gulati said.</p><p>Why not invest a healthy chunk of that $150 million surplus in the U.S. Open Cup, an audience member wondered.</p><p>“So, the next question—and it’s not just for me, it’s for the board and four our membership—where do you want to spend [it],&quot; Gulati said. &quot;The ‘Why not spend it on the Open Cup,’ I can follow with the following questions: Why not spend it on more money for the NWSL? Why not spend it on more reductions or subsidizing coaching schools and coaching programs? Why not spend more on compensation for the women’s national team? Why not spend it more on entry-level refers programs, and 10 other things?</p><p>“The people who are elected to leadership positions have to make those decisions.”</p>
Gulati Put Off By U.S. Soccer Election Discourse, Questions Candidates' Promises

PHILADELPHIA — Sunil Gulati decided about six weeks ago not to seek a fourth term as U.S. Soccer Federation president, but the eight-candidate battle royale that’ll determine his replacement next month has, at times, made him feel like he’s still in the thick of the race.

To one extent or another, all eight are running against Gulati’s record.

“I fully appreciate than when you’re running for office as a non-incumbent, you’ve got to say, ‘I’m in favor of change,’” he said.

During a Thursday Q&A at the annual United Soccer Coaches convention, Gulati acknowledged his record was sullied by the USA’s failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup. But 12 years at the federation’s helm, and his more than three decades in the sport, shouldn’t be evaluated based on one result, he argued. That’s why Gulati said he didn’t resign immediately after the October loss in Trinidad and why he told moderator Alexi Lalas that some of the recent politicking has disappointed him.

“I have found a lot of the discourse depressing and disgusting, frankly,” Gulati told the gathering at the Philadelphia Convention Center. “I’ve been to the last 34 U.S. Soccer AGMs … and I’ve been to the last 30 out of 31 of these conventions, and at all those AGMs, the mood’s been really good. Finances, teams and everything else … across the board. And then it seems the world fell apart in the last 30 days.”

He continued, tongue-in-cheek, “There are [complaints] about the [qualifier]. But it’s about everything. It’s about transparency. It’s about on-field performance. It’s about decision making. It’s about the failure of everyone in the room, and I’m at the top of that. Because the sport is completely broken and nothing good is going on. That’s all nonsense.”

The eight presidential candidates also are at the convention, where more than 12,000 coaches and soccer stakeholders will be meeting through Sunday. They’ll participate in an open forum on Saturday. Among those vying for Gulati’s office are four former players (Paul Caligiuri, Kyle Martino, Hope Solo and Eric Wynalda), two current administrators (Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter and USSF VP Carlos Cordeiro) and two independent attorneys (Steve Gans and Michael Winograd).

Gulati, who attended a dinner last month with Carter, MLS commissioner Don Garber and voters from two state associations, answered, “possibly” when Lalas asked if he was supporting a particular candidate. But he stopped short of naming names.

“You can support someone without endorsing them. In the last week, I’ve talked to three candidates. Two have asked for advice and one got some advice without asking for it,” he said. “I’ll make a public endorsement when I’m ready to do that.”

Lalas wondered if Gulati was “impressed” with any of the eight candidates.

“We certainly have some I think are more qualified than others, and some that are far less qualified than what I think is appropriate for the office,” Gulati said.

“Can we make improvements in all those areas I just touched on? The answer is, of course we can,” he added.

But tough decisions, competing constituencies and financial realities make many of the “nonsensical solutions that are being proposed by candidates,” unrealistic for the USSF, Gulati said.

If there was a primary takeaway from the the Q&A, at least as far as the election is concerned, it’s that Gulati is convinced his successor will find sitting in his seat far more complicated than criticizing his performance.

Nonsensical solutions?

“Like what,” Lalas asked.

“How many of them do you want? We only have an hour,” Gulati shot back.

He then rattled off three issues that fall into the far-easier-to-identify-than-solve category.

‘Pay to play’ in youth soccer

U.S. Soccer currently has a $150 million surplus, Gulati confirmed (a healthy chunk of which—around $60 million—was earned thanks to the Copa América Centenario in 2016). But he claimed the federation would have to “generate $150 million a month, every month,” to end pay-to-play.

“There’s nowhere in the world that has no play-to-play. What you want to do is make sure that anybody who can’t afford it [has access], but you’ve got millions of kids playing and the thought that we’re going to end pay-to-play is nonsensical,” he said.

Promotion and relegation

Gulati insisted he was “agnostic” on the issue of promotion and relegation, while stressing that instituting it “the day after tomorrow” also was an impossibility.

“There’s a whole bunch of people that came in on one set of rules. And some of them paid $150 million and built a stadium for another $250 million based on a certain set of rules,” Gulati said of MLS owners. “If they sit down and talk with other leagues and decide, ‘We want to do this, promotion and relegation, for all the reasons people think are positive’—fantastic. We, as a federation, aren’t going to be able to legislate it. And anyone who thinks we can without everyone’s agreement is going to end up with nine judges in Washington.”

Lalas asked if FIFA could force MLS’s collective hand.

“Then they’re going to end up with nine judges in Washington,” Gulati answered.

“There are some pros and there are some negatives. And I’ve read and looked at and talked to people about all of those things,” he continued. “In a salary cap world, when you don’t have 60 teams or three divisions and you’re starting from scratch, shouldn’t [pro/rel] be the way to go? There’s no evidence of that. There are some big-time pros … Is that possible? Sure. But my point is that it’s not in the hands of the federation president.”

The professional calendar

USSF presidential candidates aren’t the only ones suggesting that MLS (or American pro soccer in general) run a fall-to-spring season like the big European leagues. Long-time FIFA kingpin Sepp Blatter did as well as the USA was bidding to host the 2022 World Cup.

During that time, Gulati said, MLS “looked it at every which way, upside-down and backwards.”

Gulati said he told Blatter, “New York and Toronto are not London in January. They are Moscow and Helsinki in January.”

Blatter then made a curving motion with his hands and said, “You must do this…You must have domed stadiums.”

Gulati replied, “So now we’re going to build soccer-specific domed stadiums? And seven years ago, MLS wasn’t exactly cash positive. … I’d love to see the season a little bit longer, in terms of player development. And all the technical guys agree with me on that. But the thought that we can have a month break in December and January, what do you do? We’re going to play on March 4 in New York at Red Bull [Arena] with the women’s team. This isn’t worrying about the temperature being 12 degrees or 28 degrees. We could have two feet of snow on the ground.”

Ideally, MLS wouldn't play during FIFA international windows. The league feels the same way, Gulati said. But weather, TV considerations, stadium availability, the school year and a host of other factors compete for schedulers’ attention.

“My point about the nonsensical solutions—some of them may be solutions—but it’s not as if no one knows about it, or no one hasn’t thought about them,” he said. “It’s not of lack of knowledge of the issues. You just can’t do everything you want as quickly as you [want].”

Gulati said there were things he was proud of during his 12-year tenure, things he wish had gone better, criticism that was baseless and criticism that was fair. And he took “full blame” for the World Cup qualification failure. But his successor undoubtedly will leave with a nuanced legacy as well, and it didn’t sound like Gulati felt the candidates fully appreciate the complexity of his position. There, the questions are almost as convoluted as the answers.

“People are saying a lot of things they can’t possibly live up to,” Gulati said.

Why not invest a healthy chunk of that $150 million surplus in the U.S. Open Cup, an audience member wondered.

“So, the next question—and it’s not just for me, it’s for the board and four our membership—where do you want to spend [it]," Gulati said. "The ‘Why not spend it on the Open Cup,’ I can follow with the following questions: Why not spend it on more money for the NWSL? Why not spend it on more reductions or subsidizing coaching schools and coaching programs? Why not spend more on compensation for the women’s national team? Why not spend it more on entry-level refers programs, and 10 other things?

“The people who are elected to leadership positions have to make those decisions.”

Why the controversial Hope Solo might also be the change candidate U.S. Soccer needs
Why the controversial Hope Solo might also be the change candidate U.S. Soccer needs
Why the controversial Hope Solo might also be the change candidate U.S. Soccer needs
Why the controversial Hope Solo might also be the change candidate U.S. Soccer needs
Why the controversial Hope Solo might also be the change candidate U.S. Soccer needs
Why the controversial Hope Solo might also be the change candidate U.S. Soccer needs
Despite winning her 200th cap in August 2016, Solo will now be honored officially.
Hope Solo to be honored for 200th USWNT cap
Despite winning her 200th cap in August 2016, Solo will now be honored officially.
Despite winning her 200th cap in August 2016, Solo will now be honored officially.
Hope Solo to be honored for 200th USWNT cap
Despite winning her 200th cap in August 2016, Solo will now be honored officially.
Despite winning her 200th cap in August 2016, Solo will now be honored officially.
Hope Solo to be honored for 200th USWNT cap
Despite winning her 200th cap in August 2016, Solo will now be honored officially.
<p>U.S. Soccer will honor Hope Solo for making 200 appearances with the U.S. women’s national team at the upcoming game against Denmark on January 21, SI.com has learned.</p><p>Solo’s contributions on the field have been inarguable. She hit 200 caps during the 2016 Olympics and has won one World Cup title and two Olympic gold medals. She is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in U.S. Soccer history for either gender.</p><p>There will no doubt be some awkwardness at the event on the 21st as well. Solo, <a href="https://www.si.com/soccer/2017/12/20/us-soccer-election-final-candidates-president" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:who is currently running for U.S. Soccer president" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">who is currently running for U.S. Soccer president</a>, was suspended for six months after her controversial comments following the elimination of the U.S. at the Olympics, and the federation terminated her contract. Solo has been highly critical of coach Jill Ellis and recently criticized the popularity of U.S. teammate Alex Morgan on the “Why I’m Not…” podcast.</p><p>Solo currently has 202 caps. She has not announced her retirement from international soccer.</p>
U.S. Soccer to Honor Hope Solo for Cap Milestone at Denmark Friendly

U.S. Soccer will honor Hope Solo for making 200 appearances with the U.S. women’s national team at the upcoming game against Denmark on January 21, SI.com has learned.

Solo’s contributions on the field have been inarguable. She hit 200 caps during the 2016 Olympics and has won one World Cup title and two Olympic gold medals. She is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in U.S. Soccer history for either gender.

There will no doubt be some awkwardness at the event on the 21st as well. Solo, who is currently running for U.S. Soccer president, was suspended for six months after her controversial comments following the elimination of the U.S. at the Olympics, and the federation terminated her contract. Solo has been highly critical of coach Jill Ellis and recently criticized the popularity of U.S. teammate Alex Morgan on the “Why I’m Not…” podcast.

Solo currently has 202 caps. She has not announced her retirement from international soccer.

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