Carlos Cordeiro has been named the new president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, assuming the role after a final vote over the weekend.
There has been considerable discussion about the future of the federation in recent months, particularly since long-time president Sunil Gulati announced in December that he would not seek reelection for another term. Ultimately, an eight-candidate field to succeed Gulati took shape, with Cordeiro and Soccer United Marketing (SUM) president Kathy Carter emerging as the consensus establishment favorites.
Cordeiro, who was originally appointed as the Federation’s independent director in 2007 and has served as its vice president since 2016, won on the third ballot. His candidacy prompted criticism from some, including fellow candidate Hope Solo, who described him as “part of a federation that generated millions of dollars off the backs of its players, and much of it off the back of its women’s players, who have been the economic engine of this federation for years, yet treated like second-class citizens.”
In his candidacy, Cordeiro’s platform touched on several points, including the need to place a stronger emphasis on development through youth soccer. More from NPR:
“I think we are at an inflection point in soccer history in this country,” Cordeiro said following his win on Saturday. “I think we have an opportunity to really transform it into a No. 1 sport. I think the demographics favor that.”
Cordeiro is calling for U.S. Soccer to grow the sport at all levels, starting with “[bringing] more young people into our ranks as registered players and [to] focus on Youth Soccer less as a business and more as a way to develop talent on the field and nurture our next generation of young adults,” according to his published platform.
The platform also calls for “collaborating more with adult groups and recognizing that the millions of Youth Soccer players could bolster the ranks of the 250,000 adult players if we invest more in existing tournaments, support new membership drives and better link Adult Soccer programs with Youth Soccer and fans across the country.”
Gulati had served as president of the federation since 2006. While he was credited in some circles with presiding over a period of growth for the sport, many had been calling for a change in leadership, particularly since the United States failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup after an October qualifying game loss to Trinidad and Tobago.
Cordeiro will serve a four-year term, after winning the first contested U.S. Soccer presidential election since 1998. The election results can be found here.
Image courtesy U.S. Soccer.
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