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New Era Set to Begin for U.S. Soccer on the Eve of Its Presidential Election

7 Feb, 2018

By: Michael Popke
What Will New Leadership Mean to Sports, Amateur Events?

U.S. Soccer will elect a new president at its Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 10.

Eight candidates will be on the ballot, and the one receiving the most votes from members of the national governing body’s 91 state associationswill replace Sunil Gulati, who announced in early December he would not seek re-electionafter a 12-year run.

The candidates are:

• Paul Caligiuri

• Kathy Carter

• Carlos Cordeiro

• Steve Gans

• Kyle Martino

• Hope Solo

• Michael Winograd

• Eric Wynalda

CBSsports.com posted brief profilesof all candidates, but Solo(a World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist) and Winograd(a lawyer and former player) are the two that appear most likely to make the biggest impact on youth soccer.

“One of Solo’s priorities is addressing inequities in the youth soccer systemand the ‘pay-to-play’ culture that leaves too many promising players on the sidelines,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported in early January.

Winograd also is campaigning on a platformthat calls for removing cost barriers in both youth soccer and coaching education, while seeking equal treatment for women’s soccer, too.

Representatives of youth soccer make up a quarter of the voting delegates, according to the Chronicle.

Whoever wins, the pressure to improve the state of the soccer in this country will be tremendous.

“Gulati oversaw incredible growth in the sport in the United States — in revenues, registrations, opportunities for women, governance and international stature — but also was the person in charge when the men's national team crashed out of qualifying for next summer's World Cup, missing out on the sport's showpiece for the first time since 1986,” ESPN.comwrote after Gulati made his announcement. “That failure, ultimately, was impossible to move past. If the United States hadn't lost to Trinidad and Tobago in the final qualifying game in October, Gulati almost surely would have run again.”

Instead, a new era in American soccer is about to begin. We’ll have information about the winner and his or her plans for the sport in the next issue of The Blitz.

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