It’s Finally Over
As the 2018 USSF Presidential Election comes to a conclusion, the mud-slinging and political warfare has ended, the smoke has cleared, and the (soccer) people have spoken.
Carlos Cordeiro will be the next USSF President.
Each candidate focused on “change”, a keyword that has floated around Twitter and social media discussions often. It’s a process that many are excited has come to a conclusion. Each candidate was given 5 minutes to make their case, with the first being Paul Caligiuri, who focused on his overall credentials as a potential candidate. A USMNT veteran with a passion for coaching and youth development, he told potential voters that “your vote represents everyone” within US Soccer- fans, players, coaches, everyone…and asked them to “feel and share my unified vision”. Unfortunately, Caligiuri was the first eliminated when the first round of voting concluded.
Next up was Steve Gans, whose message to voters was that his experience in a successful corporate environment, paired with his lifelong passion for the sport which started at a young age, made him the best man for the job. Gans told the story of his father immigrating from Germany to Boston, introducing Gans to the beautiful game at a young age. Gans said that State Associations carriy a burden, which local state associations actually identified with after speaking to a few local representatives. However, Gans was the third to withdraw, after the second round of voting concluded and it became obvious that Carter and Cordeiro were the front-runners.
Gans was followed by Michael Winograd, who focused his attention on the cost associated with playing youth soccer in the United States, referring it to a “money grab”. Winograd also focused on his experience working for “the biggest companies in the world”, and urged voters to consider him as the most likely candidate to “make US Soccer better”. Winograd, like Gans, withdrew after the second round of voting
Kathy Carter spoke next, and talked about her dad coaching her at a young age, despite knowing nothing about soccer and wearing baseball cleats instead of soccer “boots”. Carter pledged to “lead change, not by using a few band-aids, but through hard work”. Carter said that the lessons she has learned in the business world gives her the ability to lead, vowing to make improvements in youth soccer and going “all-in” as it relates to the women’s program. Carter said it was time to “stop talking, and move towards action”, vowing her commitment to the game and overall soccer community.
Up next was Kyle Martino, who gave an early shout-out to his youth coach in Connecticut who he says was in attendance. Martino stated that unity was still a possibility after such a heated election, and accredited his parents for being able to afford for him to play soccer growing up as a big part of him being given the opportunity to run for USSF President. Martino stated that US Soccer was not available to underserved youth, saying that participation was down 25% from last year. He focused on grassroots movements, vowing to empower State youth soccer associations, and pushing for “change”, as he continued to deliver his speech over the music that was attempting to play him off of the stage.
Eric Wynalda followed Martino, vowing to keep his speech short and to the point. Wynalda said that US Soccer, as a whole, would be better off after this election process. He said that he was ready, as a candidate, to “fight to the very end”, but said “the fighting stops here”. Wynalda said that he planned to help collaborate all groups (youth, adult, professional, etc.), asking voters who claimed they were ready for change to “vote with your heart”.
Hope Solo was up next, and the former USWNT GK came out firing. She mentioned the complaint that she filed against USSF, and went on to “throw shade” at both Kathy Carter and Carlos Cordeiro, which rubbed many within US Soccer the wrong way. Sge said that Cordeiro failed to stand up for unsafe playing conditions for women players, and claimed that he did not stand up for equal pay for women. She used the pay discrepency between herself and Tim Howard as an example, then went on to mention Kathy Carter whom she publicly criticized throughout the election. Despite Solo’s loud standing ovation at the conclusion of her speech, her words failed to register with voters, earning only 1.5% of votes once the second round of voting concluded. Leading into the third round, once Winograd and Gans withdrew, she would be the candidate most likely to be eliminated, but it didn’t matter.
Last to present was Carlos Cordeiro, who many viewed as one of the two “establishment” candidates who were both front-runners. It was a bit awkward for Cordeiro to follow Solo after the allegations she made against him, but he didn’t appear shook and delivered a composed speech to voters. He said that he was the candidate most qualified to actually deliver change, stating that he was the only presidential candidate who had the necessary full-scope vision and plan that were necessary to implement.
Once the third round of voting concluded, Cordeiro was the winner after obtaining 50% of the vote that was necessary for victory. He gave his acceptance speech, followed by an emotional goodbye from Sunil Gulati.
Following the election results, I caught up with MSYSA board members who were in attendance. They stated that they spoke to every candidate, and said the decision was extremely difficult in the end. However, they believed that Carlos Cordeiro was the best option when they thought about who was best for youth soccer in Maryland and in the United States, also stating that he was the candidate who could most likely deliver a World Cup hosting bid for the United States in 2026. They made sure to stress that they seriously considered every candidate, and their decision was extremely difficult, however they went with Cordeiro, who Virginia Youth Soccer Association also sided with.
The 2018 USSF Presidential Campaign has come to a close, with Carlos Cordeiro elected as the next President of US Soccer.
But Wait, There’s More…
While in the lobby, I ran into a USL representative who could be considered EXTREMELY reliable. I asked if they had heard any updates about the potential for Baltimore as a USL city, they even said they had seen our petition which was pretty humbling.
I was able to confirm that an announcement would be coming in the next 60 days, with an ownership group approved. The only hold-up is the stadium announcement, which was coming along and apparently a few potential locations are currently being considered.
We both seemed extremely excited about the near future as it relates to USL coming to Baltimore, which looks to be finally becoming a reality after years of speculation. Extremely good news for Baltimore soccer!