U.S. Soccer Presidential Candidates Take Shots At Establishment Voices During Forum
U.S. Soccer presidential candidates Hope Solo, Kyle Martino, Eric Wynalda and Paul Caligiuri on Saturday during a forum at the United Soccer Coaches Convention "went after the soccer establishment" and together made the corporate types "seem drab and detached," according to Eric Adelson of YAHOO SPORTS. The candidates' approaches to the forum "varied tremendously." Solo, who appeared first, was the "most blunt," painting the USSF as a "tone-deaf dictatorship." She was "spirited and strident from the opening salvo." Solo said, "The Federation has failed you." Solo then "went after" SUM President Kathy Carter and USSF VP Carlos Cordeiro -- two fellow candidates -- for "failing to sufficiently help the women’s national team in its fight for equal pay." Martino was "both well-versed and folksy," while Wynalda was "more off-the-cuff." Caligiuri "may have been the most pleasant surprise," but most candidates "appeared nervous at times." It was clear throughout the forum in Philadelphia that U.S. Soccer has "both an elitist problem and a communication problem." Club coaches interviewed after the forum “generally panned Cordeiro and Carter as establishment voices.” They want a "fresh look, a ground-up approach, and someone who is generally unencumbered." Saturday's event would have been "better if it was a debate, which was the initial plan." Solo said after the forum, "I was ready for a debate. I wanted to ask Kathy Carter directly, 'Where was she in our fight for equal pay?'" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/20).
WORK TO DO: SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy wrote thousands of coaches were in attendance at the convention, though "only a fraction of them attended any of the U.S. Soccer events." Seven of the eight candidates -- all but Cordeiro -- did "1-on-1 sessions on Thursday and Friday before crowds of 50-250." Wynalda had the "largest audience." But "no more than a half a dozen voting delegates were in attendance at any talk." Kennedy noted "no one believes any of the candidates, even Carter with her structural advantages, has anywhere close to the support needed to win on the first ballot." This past weekend was about the four front-runners -- Carter, Cordeiro, Wynalda and Martino -- "trying to knock down each of their high unfavorables" (SOCCERAMERICA.com, 1/21). In DC, Steven Goff notes Martino has "traveled the country meeting with state associations and individuals deeply entrenched in the sport." Martino said, "I can move this thing forward. I am already acting in the way I intend to govern. I admit I am not an expert in all categories. I'm making it my full-time responsibility to reach out to the membership to understand what they need." Goff notes Martino has "enlisted two of soccer's biggest retired names" -- Thierry Henry and David Beckham -- to "help mold his platform and persuade hundreds of voting delegates to choose him" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/22).
MORE TROUBLE AHEAD? ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle reported the USSF and outgoing President Sunil Gulati face a “criminal antitrust complaint” filed with the DOJ by an attorney working on behalf of an Oregon-based youth club. The allegations are the “latest salvos in an ongoing effort to have FIFA’s system of training compensation and solidarity payments enforced” in the U.S. (ESPN.com, 1/19).