Sunil Gulati: USA Soccer president resigns

Frederick Owens
December 6, 2017

Gulati, whose decision follows that of national coach Bruce Arena to step down, went public with the news to ESPN saying he opted not to go for a fourth term despite "many people in different positions" telling him he should carry on. Candidates include attorney Steve Gans, ex-players Kyle Martino, Eric Wynalda, Paul Caligiuri and Mike Winograd and soccer administrators Paul Lapointe, Carlos Cordeiro and Kathy Carter.

The 48-year-old Carter is now the president of Major League Soccer's marketing subsidiary, Soccer United Marketing. "The United States Soccer Federation needs new leadership that understands both business operations and the game".

Sunil Gulati announced through an interview with ESPN's Sam Borden that he will not run for another term in the upcoming US Soccer Federation presidential election. "But in the end, I think the best thing for me personally, and for the federation, is to see someone new in the job".

After deciding to stick with Jurgen Klinsmann entering a second World Cup cycle, the US ultimately fired him in November 2016 after a pair of losses in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

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"I will empower [U.S. Soccer secretary general] Dan Flynn and the staff of the Federation to do the job they have been hired to do", she said. He also was deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer from its launch until 1999.

Gulati met with all of the candidates and he felt that many of them were in for a "pretty big shock" once they realised exactly what being the president of U.S. Soccer required. They both now work as analysts on NBC and Fox Sports respectively and will again offer a unique perspective on what is needed for the country to move forward as a soccer nation. Gulati pointed out that it was not just about the national teams but that the included overseeing registered players, referees, medical safety and grass-roots development which he felt "gets ignored sometimes". Gulati brought back former manager Bruce Arena, but a stunning sequence of events capped by a US loss at Trinidad & Tobago in October provoked calls for a complete housecleaning at the federation.

He also is instrumental in the joint USA-Mexico-Canada bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and his influence as a FIFA Council member might ultimately prove pivotal in bringing the World Cup back to North America.

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