A quick guide to candidates running for U.S. Soccer president
Eight candidates will officially stand for election as president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, each having passed a background check and received at least three letters of nomination from three qualified entities (organization members and/or athlete members of the board of directors). The election will take place on Feb. 10 in Orlando. Below are bios for each candidate.
Paul Caligiuri (@PaulCaligiuri20)
The Hall of Famer scored the most important goal in U.S. men’s national team history -- the November 1989 “Shot Heard 'Round the World” to beat Trinidad and Tobago, end the Yanks' 40-year World Cup drought, and halt talk that the 1994 World Cup might be stripped from the U.S. -- was a starter in two World Cups, won 110 caps, and started the push for Americans to play in Europe when he signed in 1987 with Hamburger SV.
Caligiuri played with five German clubs before coming to MLS, where he played for five years. He spent 1996 with Columbus, then successfully sued the league to enforce a contract provision that promised allocation to his hometown LA Galaxy. Caligiuri, 53, is the former head coach of the men's and women's teams at Cal Poly Pomona, an NCAA Division II school, and is head coach/technical director of the NPSL's Orange County FC.
Kathy Carter (@soccerkcarter)
The New York-based executive has an extensive background in the game and has been involved at the highest levels since her role with the 1994 World Cup Organizing Committee. She's been since 2010 the president of Soccer United Marketing, Major League Soccer's marketing arm, which handles rights deals for U.S. Soccer and the Mexican national team.
Carter joined SUM in 2003 following stints with several corporations, including AEG, for which she served as vice president of sales and marketing. Carter was among the founders of MLS and served as VP of sales and marketing from its inception until 1999. She also has served as the U.S. representative to FIFA's Committee for Women's Football and in FIFA's organization of the 2007 and 2011 Women's World Cups. A goalkeeper during her playing days, she was a high school All-American and played at William & Mary -- U.S. women's coach Jill Ellis was a prep and college teammate.
Carlos Cordeiro (@CACSoccer)
The former Goldman Sachs executive has been Sunil Gulati's right-hand man and closest confidant and has long been considered a potential successor to the USSF president, just not for another four years.
Cordeiro has been on U.S. Soccer's board of directors since 2006, served as the federation's treasurer for a spell, and last year was elected vice president. He was vice-chair on the failed 2022 World Cup bid, had headed the USSF's budget committee and serves as the U.S., Canadian and Mexican representative on the CONCACAF Council. He also is on FIFA's stakeholders committee and on the board of the U.S./Canadian bid for the 2026 World Cup.
Steve Gans (@stevegans2018)
The Boston attorney has been involved in the game for more than four decades, as a youth, college and pro indoor player, in the MISL Baltimore Blast's front office, on Boston's 1994 World Cup bid, and in the youth game. He works with professional and youth clubs in England and the U.S. on a variety of matters in his law practice and with his consulting firm, Professional Soccer Advisors.
Gans, 57, has also been a youth coach, served on a Development Academy club's board of directors, and has had two sons go through the Development Academy. He also has experience in business, as as chief operations officer and president of book and publishing companies.
Kyle Martino (@kylemartino)
Major League Soccer’s 2002 Rookie of the Year is probably better known for his work televising the game -- for ESPN and Fox before joining NBC Sports in 2012 -- than for what he did on the field. His experience, however, is extensive.
Martino, 38, was Gatorade National Player of the Year as a high school senior, joined MLS on a Project 40 contract after starring at the University of Virginia, and spent six seasons in MLS, with the Columbus Crew and LA Galaxy, before injuries forced a 2008 retirement. He played at the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship and made eight appearances for the full national team. Martino has been on the air since stepping off the field and serves as a studio analyst and color commentator for NBC Sports' EPL coverage.
Hope Solo (@hopesolo)
Hope Solo has the most decorated on-field resume of any candidate, having helped the U.S. women’s national team win the 2015 World Cup as well as Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012. Solo won 153 games and kept 102 clean sheets in her 190 international starts, all U.S. records.
Following the Americans’ surprising quarterfinal exit in the 2016 Olympics, at the hands of Sweden, Solo called the Swedes “a bunch of cowards” in response to their tactics. The comments eventually led to her suspension from the team and the termination of her U.S. Soccer contract. U.S. Soccer said the punishment came as a result of repeated missteps, including her 2014 arrest for alleged domestic violence and her suspension for her 2015 involvement in her husband’s DUI arrest, which took place in a U.S. Soccer team van.
Among Solo’s talking points in a Facebook post announcing her candidacy were equality for women’s issues and socio-economic diversity in youth soccer. She has not officially announced her retirement from playing, having spent the past year rehabbing from shoulder replacement surgery.
Michael Winograd (@WinogradUSSF)
The New York corporate attorney played in college and professionally in Israel, helped to create the foundation of an A-League team, and has an extensive coaching background. He has served on the board of governors of his town's youth soccer program, and his son is involved in the Development Academy.
Winograd was an assistant coach at the University of Richmond and director of youth and team development for the Staten Island Vipers, a lower-level pro team in late 1990s. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Fordham University Law School.
Eric Wynalda (@EricWynalda)
A star forward for a decade with the U.S. men’s national team and one of the most successful of Americans in Europe, Wynalda has been among U.S. soccer’s most prominent and at times controversial voices.
He played in three World Cups and departed the international game with 34 goals, a U.S. record until broken by Landon Donovan. Wynalda, 48, starred in Germany, had a brief stint in Mexico, and played six seasons in MLS, for the San Jose Clash, Miami Fusion, New England Revolution and Chicago Fire.
He has coached since, most prominently in amateurs Cal FC's upset of the Portland Timbers in the 2012 U.S. Open Cup, with Atlanta Silverbacks in the NASL and in 2017 with the LA Wolves in the UPSL. He's also involved in coming NASL expansion club California United FC. Wynalda is an analyst on Fox Sports' soccer coverage after starting his broadcast career at ESPN and ABC.