Talkin’ US Soccer presidential candidates (edition one of infinity)

We officially know that Sunil Gulati won’t run for another term as USSF President, signifying a changing of the guard for the first time since 2006. How about some talk on Sunil Gulati’s departure and what it means for US Soccer. More on his legacy, with more good than people want to admit right now (but of course plenty of bad).

Is Kathy Carter Sunil Gulati? Probably not, but her connections to him through MLS and Soccer United Marketing are going to (justifiably, in many ways) peg her as an establishment candidate, and make her unpopular among those who are hankering for change. That group may not be quite as large as some expect, but a significant portion of the USSF constituency nonetheless.

However, complaints that “her website is prettay prettay polished, she’s lying about having no idea whether or not she was going to run” coming from the dark corners of Soccer Twitter both ignore that she’s been very open about considering a run for some time now, and the website is basically standard-order (as in, from a template “insert your graphics and your text” with the amount of text that would take… maybe an hour to write? Less than that?) and doesn’t even prove that non-point anyway.

My take on her candidacy? I’m happy to see a female candidate, but one with such extensive ties to SUM is going to be a non-starter for too many people. Whether those are people with voting power (generally not) might not be as important as the vocal nature with which they’re going to conduct themselves. For the record, I’m also on team “how about somebody not involved with SUM or Gulati” here (also effectively eliminating Carlos Cordeiro in my eyes). I’m also of the opinion that improving transparency has to be among the priorities for any candidate, and she doesn’t even mention it – the cynical side of me immediately thinks “for obvious reasons.”

Let me disclaim that I do not hate Paul LaPointe. That said… He conducts himself much more professionally in an interview setting than he does on social media (where he seems to go out of his way to not do so). I understand that, as a dark horse candidate, he sort of has to go out of his way to generate notoriety on social media. But the conduct on there is almost disqualifying for me it’s so unprofessional (and often directly contradicts the points he makes in the above-linked article – which is the real Paul LaPointe?). This does not make you sound savvy. It makes you sound unhinged – as does a lot of his other posting.

I understand, given feelings about missing the World Cup – and among those paying closer attention, about Gulati in general well before that – why some (particularly Wynalda and LaPointe) seem to think “Fuck Sunil Gulati. Also Pro/Rel” is an adequate platform, but it’s not. Even in the more professional sitdowns, there’s little actionable in what LaPointe says – though he’s not alone in that, and I don’t want to single him out with too much negativity. Ted Westervelt is not the target audience that’s going to win you this election (in fact, his endorsement would probably be a very good way to lose it).

Voting for “I hate the current guy and also I have one pipe dream piece of policy” is a way to end up with a really, really bad president. Don’t ask me how I know, just trust me.

Wynalda/Carter/Martino/the rest. That seems to be your realistic field at this point. There’s obviously plenty of time for the five others to differentiate themselves positively enough to jump out of that mass category – and it also wouldn’t surprise me to see Cordeiro drop out with another Gulati candidate in the mix, or some of these guys not get the required nominations by the Dec. 12 deadline.

After the dealine for nominations, this will probably get a whole lot more real.

Non-candidate talk. More of a structural (or focus) item as it pertains specifically to development, and that’s give states more power. I would argue they already have a decent amount of power in the specific field being discussed, but there’s a matter of leadership not taking advantage of that (whether state leaders or the national governing body not taking advantage of it). I think the job of the president within the federation should (and given the majority of the candidates in the mix, most likely will) be a stronger liaison with these state and/or local organizations, which would be a nice step.

This is more the basic ground rules, rather than any specific policies, but most of them relate to a level of transparency that’s only fair for US Soccer to have. (Not-so-shockingly, only my preferred candidate at this point, Kyle Martino, has responded to the specifics of it thus far).

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