December 8 – Hope Solo, the United States’ World Cup-winning goalkeeper, has thrown her hat into the ring for presidency of the US Soccer Federation, taking the number of declared candidates to eight.
Earlier this week current president Sunil Gulati said he will now not stand for what would have been a fourth term in the role, but will focus on the US bid for the 2026 World Cup and his leading roles at FIFA and CONCACAF.
Solo, arguably the best-known keeper in the women’s game, made the announcement of her candidacy on social media, laying out her credentials and criticising the current regime in the process.
Solo is reported to already have the required three nomination letters from voting members needed to formally enter the race. The deadline for submission is December 12 with the ballot due in February.
“We need passionate and intelligent soccer people leading the way at U.S Soccer,” Solo wrote. “The business strategy at U.S. Soccer cannot continue to be profit before progress. The heart of what USSF must represent is the development of youth soccer in America.
“I know exactly what U.S. Soccer needs to do, I know exactly how to do it, and I possess the fortitude to get it done.”
Solo joins a crowded field of now none nominees running for office including former US internationals Eric Wynalda, Kyle Martino, and Paul Caliguri; Steve Gans, a former player turned attorney who has advised Premier League clubs on their business and is involved with youth programmes and coaching; Mike Winograd, who played professionally in Israel; Paul Lapointe, a soccer administrator; and former Goldman Sachs banker Carlos Cordeiro, Gulati’s vice president who would be very much seen as the continuity candidate.
Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter has also now formally entered the running.
Solo has at times been a controversial figure both in her personal life and football career. She was suspended by the US Soccer Federation for six months following the shock exit of the US team in the quarter finals of the Rio 2016 Olympics for comments made about the Swedish team being “a bunch of cowards” for the ultra-defensive way they played.
She recently accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexual harassment at a Ballon d’Or Awards ceremony in 2015.
Her entry into the presidential race does ensure that the women’s game has a strong figure that understands the issues faced in the US from player and league development to pay equality. Solo has been at the vocal front of these issues and not afraid to take a stand.
As a player she made 202 appearances for the U.S. women’s national team winning Olympic gold medals in 2007 and 2011. The 36-year-old was also a member of the U.S. team that won the Women’s World Cup in 2015 but is not without controversy. She has not played for the national side since the Rio Olympics after receiving a six-month ban for calling Sweden “a bunch of cowards” for the ultra-defensive way they played in knocking the US out of the competition.
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