Former national team goalkeeper Hope Solo has announced that she’s running for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Solo declared her candidacy Thursday night on Facebook. It comes less than a week after current U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said he will not seek a fourth term. His decision came in the wake of the October failure of the U.S. men’s team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
“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 said in her post. “I have always been willing to sacrifice for what I believe in and I believe there is no greater sacrifice then fighting for equal opportunity, integrity and honesty, especially in an organization like the USSF that could give so much more to our communities across the nation.”
She joins a crowded field of nine candidates. She is the second woman to announce a bid for the job.
The 36-year-old Solo anchored the U.S. team in goal during its 2015 Women’s World Cup championship run. Her tenure with the national team ended following last year’s Olympics in Brazil, when the Americans were ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals. Afterward, Solo called the Swedish team “cowards” for their defensive style of play.
She was suspended from the team shortly thereafter and has not returned.
For her career, Solo has made 202 total appearances with the national team, with 153 wins and an international-record 102 shutouts.
But she’s also been dogged by a number of off-the-field controversies. Notably, a domestic violence case stemming from a 2014 altercation at a family member’s home in Washington state.
Solo joins Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter, who announced her candidacy on Tuesday. Other candidates include former national team players Paul Caligiuri, Eric Wynalda and Kyle Martino as well as USSF vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Boston lawyer Steve Gans, New York lawyer Michael Winograd and Paul LaPointe, Northeast Conference manager of the United Premier Soccer League.
The election will be held in February.
Solo said she is campaigning on four core principles: She aims to create a winning culture in U.S. Soccer, starting with youth development; she’ll push for equal pay for the women’s national team and all women within U.S. Soccer; she’ll address the “pay-to-play” model to make soccer accessible to all; and she’ll stress transparency within the federation.
“What we have lost in America is belief in our system, in our coaches, in our talent pool, and in the governance of US Soccer,” she said. “We now must refocus our goals and come together as a soccer community to bring about the changes we desire.”
The 58-year-old Gulati had been a driving force in the USSF for more than 30 years. During that time, the U.S. won the women’s World Cup in 1991, 1999 and 2015. He helped put together the successful bid that brought the 1994 World Cup to the U.S. and served as executive vice president and chief international officer of the U.S. organizers for the tournament.
He was deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer from its launch until 1999; and president of Kraft Soccer Properties, which operates the New England Revolution of MLS.
Gulati was a unanimous pick in March 2006 to succeed Bob Contiguglia, who served two terms. Gulati replaced Chuck Blazer on FIFA’s executive committee in 2013 and continues to serve on the renamed FIFA council. He also is chairman of the joint U.S-Mexico-Canada bid committee, hoping FIFA will pick North America to host the 2026 World Cup.
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