Hope Solo

Photos of the US goal keeper.

<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
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins &quot;CBS This Morning&quot; to discuss why she&#39;s running to lead the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Hope Solo continues fight for change with bid for U.S. Soccer presidency
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss why she's running to lead the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss why she's running to lead the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Hope Solo continues fight for change with bid for U.S. Soccer presidency
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss why she's running to lead the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins &quot;CBS This Morning&quot; to discuss why she&#39;s running to lead the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Hope Solo continues fight for change with bid for U.S. Soccer presidency
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss why she's running to lead the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins &quot;CBS This Morning&quot; to discuss why she&#39;s running to lead the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Hope Solo continues fight for change with bid for U.S. Soccer presidency
Hope Solo made a name for herself as one of the most accomplished soccer goalkeepers in the world. But she also made headlines for what happened off the field. In her years on the national team, Solo spoke out about coaching decisions. She was suspended for 30 days in 2015. She encouraged teammates to join her in a federal complaint alleging wage discrimination. In 2016, U.S. soccer terminated her contract after she made negative comments about an opposing team at the Rio Olympics. Solo joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss why she's running to lead the U.S. 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)
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.

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