The first order of business for Carlos Cordeiro, the new president of the US Soccer Federation, is to figure out why the United States men’s national team didn’t qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, which begins on June 14. It was the first time since 1986 that the Americans missed the cut.
The 61-year-old was elected on Saturday to the post. He beat out seven other candidates, including Major League Soccer exec Kathy Carter, former men’s national team players Paul Caligiuri, Kyle Martino and Eric Wynalda, lawyers Steve Gans and Michael Winograd, and former US women’s team member Hope Solo. The National Council met at the Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida, this past weekend and elected the new president on the third vote Saturday.
Cordeiro has been US Soccer’s vice president since 2016, where he served in a role seen as the right-hand man for outgoing president Sunil Gulati.
New Boss Same as Old Boss?
Many thought Cordeiro’s role as second in command had something to do with the failures of the men’s team. Some believed a change was in order to correct the problems of the men’s team.
One of those critics was Solo. The outspoken former starting goalkeeper for the 2015 US Women’s World Cup Champions used her time before the board to disparage the two front runners. The 36-year-old has been an outspoken critic of the leadership of the sport in the US.
“The two establishment candidates, Kathy Carter and Carlos Cordeiro, haven’t just been part of the system, they have created and shaped U.S. Soccer into what it is today,” she said. “A vote for either one of them is a vote for the status quo: disunity, discord and more failure. I was a player for 20 years, and I saw first-hand what Carlos Cordeiro’s idea of change is. You cannot, as a vice president, claim you are the lone voice for change while all of this happened under your watch.”
American World Cup Meltdown
Solo was referencing the men’s team and its failure to qualify for the World Cup last year. Many believe the team was mismanaged, and though Cordeiro had little to do with the play on the field, he apparently did have input on installing Bruce Arena as the team’s head coach. Arena resigned shortly after the US was officially eliminated from 2018 World Cup contention.
The team struggled in what was supposed to be an easy division and was thought to be a lock to reach the premier soccer event that is played every four years. But they entered a must-win match against Trinidad and Tobago to punch its ticket to Russia.
They were an overwhelming -400 favorite to defeat the tiny island nation, who was a -1000 on the money line. The US lost, 2-1, and the country of less than 1.5 million people celebrated its biggest victory in their history. The US program was stunned and now have entrusted Cordeiro to right a ship that has been listless for the past two years.