Sunil Gulati's Pal Running Against Him For US Soccer President?

Current US Soccer President Sunil Gulati has not publicly committed if he will or won't run in the upcoming elections for US Soccer president, but his good friend has placed his own name into the hat for election .....

"Today, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States Soccer Federation.

Our sport is at a critical juncture, and while we have accomplished much together, there are significant challenges to address if we are to consistently fulfill our potential. These challenges require new leadership with an inclusive, collaborative and dynamic approach to establish our great nation as a real force in domestic and international soccer.

We need a comprehensive and fearless review of all major issues: governance, National Team structure and leadership, improving soccer’s accessibility to everyone, and more.

As part of my candidacy, I am launching Mission 26/27 - a vision to align all levels of U.S. Soccer operations and ensure that the Men’s National Team not only qualifies for but excels at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and elevates both our men’s and women’s National Teams to the highest levels of achievement in 2026 and 2027.

The role of President requires a consensus builder with a focus on sound governance, who can bring stakeholders together toward a common goal. I bring the unique blend of outside business leadership expertise, a proven track record within U.S. Soccer and the global game, and the respect of industry colleagues to this role.

I humbly submit the following priorities of my candidacy, which aims to promote important areas of growth through open and inclusive leadership:

· Governance: My Presidency will take a team-based, transparent and collaborative approach that I believe has been lacking. The role and responsibilities of the President cannot be confused with that of the CEO. The principal roles of the President, and by extension the Board, include overseeing strategy that is implemented by the CEO, and facilitating discussion to ensure all actions taken by the Board are fully vetted. The CEO is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Federation.

· National Team Programs and Mission 26/27: Our Women’s National Team program has set the bar for what we can achieve on the world stage. For our women to continue their success, and for our men to excel at the same level, all of our National Team programs deserve world-class coaches, facilities and infrastructure consistent with the highest competition. Furthermore, Mission 26/27 can be achieved on our home turf. There is no more important strategic priority over the next 224 days than winning the bid to co-host the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2026, and I believe we can and should host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2027.

As a first step toward this goal, I propose establishing a Technical Committee, reporting to the CEO of U.S. Soccer, to recommend all national team coaches before appointments are approved by the Board. In addition, all coaches should report to the CEO, or a new position, General Manager for Soccer, who would report to the CEO, in the same way other Federations run national team programs.

Additional investment is also needed in non-traditional soccer disciplines, such as our Paralympians and Futsal, recognizing the contributions of all National Team athletes.

· Youth Soccer: Youth soccer is the foundation from which we will build our future. The Federation must work harder with all its members to create opportunities and grow participation, particularly in underprivileged and diverse communities. For example, among other things, we must invest in more coaches and coach education programs. It is vital that the Federation helps make soccer affordable, and supports the grassroots volunteers who play a crucial role in identifying and developing players at the youngest ages. U.S. Soccer must also ensure member and national team programs are aligned and complementary. When introducing new initiatives, all potential impacts on existing programs must be carefully considered.

· Adult Soccer: The Federation must engage the millions of former Youth players to grow Adult programs, including further investment in existing tournaments and new events to drive membership. U.S. Soccer should actively link the millions of soccer supporters across the country with adult soccer programs and stronger fan engagement initiatives. We need to make sure our participants are supporters, and our supporters become participants for life, showing the same level of passionate involvement that other nations exhibit for the “beautiful game.”

· Pro Leagues: I recognize the importance of all professional leagues and that their prosperity is crucial to developing a competitive soccer ecosystem in our country. U.S. Soccer must work with professional leagues and teams to help develop better players, coaches and referees. The Federation has been critical to the evolution of the National Women's Soccer League, and we need to ensure that it continues to prosper.

· Athletes: In addition to ensuring that our top athletes have world-class facilities and coaching, the Federation must keep current and former players involved with the sport at all levels. It would be my priority to help mentor and recruit athletes to the Athlete Council, as well as further integrate them into the governance of U.S. Soccer through committees and task forces, as well as other appointments and elected positions.

Commercial: U.S. Soccer is privileged to have built strong relationships with corporate sponsors and other partners that finance the Federation’s strategic plans. It is the responsibility of the President and the Board to continue generating value for U.S. Soccer by staying laser-focused on its mission to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the U.S., and to develop soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.

Serving as U.S. Soccer’s first Independent Director in 2006, I assumed increasing responsibilities over time including overseeing the Federation’s finances as Treasurer. In 2016, you elected me Vice President. Currently, I sit on the CONCACAF Council, which oversees all CONCACAF activities in our region, as the elected representative for the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Last year, I was appointed to serve on FIFA's Stakeholders’ Committee, which oversees relationships with players, clubs, leagues and member associations. It is critically important that the U.S. Soccer President commands international respect given our ambitions to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup alongside our CONCACAF partners, Canada and Mexico, and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2027.

Over the course of my career, I have successfully built coalitions and consensus toward a common goal, and served on boards of complex organizations that faced many challenges. It is with that expertise, knowledge and independence that I eagerly embrace this opportunity to run for President of U.S. Soccer. In the coming weeks, I will reach out to leaders and members alike to discuss these issues in more detail. I would be delighted to have the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your priorities before seeking election to represent you at the Annual General Meeting in February next year.

As a lifelong soccer fan who has volunteered countless hours to our sport and Federation, I recognize that soccer is a team sport, and to succeed, our Federation must operate as a team. Together, we can deliver the future that U.S. Soccer aspires to reach. I ask for and would be honored to receive your support."

Last edited by Dave Birnbaum; 11/02/17 03:47 PM.