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U.S. Soccer is staying the course, voting to keep Cindy Parlow Cone as president at the organization’s annual general meeting in Atlanta.
Parlow Cone, the first woman president in U.S. Soccer Federation history, won the vote of the membership over Carlos Cordeiro, whom she replaced in the job in March of 2020. Parlow Cone outpolled Cordeiro 785.12 to 698.26 in the weighted voting for the position, which has a four-year term.
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The contentious election highlighted rifts in the sport’s national governing body, which Parlow Cone immediately sought to mend. “The moment of division is now in the past,” she said after the result was announced. “We are one federation. We are one team. I promise to be the leader for all of U.S. Soccer. I’ve never been more excited or more hopeful about the future of our beautiful game.”
The leadership choice comes at a critical time for the sport in the U.S., which will play host to the 2026 FIFA World Cup along with Mexico and Canada.
Parlow Cone, a former U.S. Women’s National Team player, took over the presidency just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. The federation was also embroiled in contentious litigation with women’s national team players, who sued in federal court for equal pay.
Cordeiro, the president from 2018 to March of 2020, resigned from the job under public and sponsor pressure after U.S. Soccer lawyers filed a legal brief using sexist arguments to defend the federation in the equal-pay lawsuit.
That case was recently settled for $24 million.
Parlow Cone based her case for reelection on the progress the federation has made in settling the WNT case, navigating through the pandemic, signing major sponsorship and TV deals, and working toward equal pay for the men’s and women’s national teams in CBA negotiations.
At least one U.S. Soccer sponsor is likely to be satisfied with the result. In a rare move by a major federation sponsor, Deloitte released a statement to Sportico ahead of the election expressing concerns if Parlow Cone were to be ousted. “As we made clear in 2020, while our support for the team is unwavering, we were deeply offended by the views expressed at that time by the USSF,” a Deloitte spokesperson said. “We have appreciated the improved tone and trajectory of this matter under new leadership and our future sponsorship decisions will be contingent on continuity of that progress.”