Defiant Gulati doesn't plan on resigning

Three days after the USA was shockingly eliminated from the 2018 World Cup in Russia in a crushing blow felt throughout the soccer community, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said he could understand the frustration but did not plan to resign.

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“It’s not the right day for me to talk about my personal future plans in terms of the federation’s presidency," he said in an often testy media conference call on Friday.

Gulati, who has run unopposed for three terms, is eligible to run for a fourth and final term under election rules modified earlier in 2017. He said he'll decide in the coming weeks whether he'll run.

“All of us involved in the game are also passionate about the team and are extraordinarily disappointed in every possible way, starting with me and everyone on our staff and everything else,” he said. “So what you say is none of us is happy about not going, but the one thing this has reconfirmed is the passion and support we have for the team has grown tremendously.

“We’ll do everything we can to get the team and the program and all of our teams back on track so that we’re successful. We’re not always going to be successful, that’s for sure. But this is a big shock to the system. We understand that and we understand how much anger, frustration, disappointment and hurt there is from Tuesday night.”

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Why not resign now? “We’ve got a lot of things on our agenda, including a World Cup bid that is due in the end of March, and a decision in June. So I don’t plan to do that, and it’s not the case that most people around the world do that. Most coaches do, but it’s not the case that most presidents do, and I’m not planning to.”

Why is he the right person for the job? “Because of where the sport is now, and the role I’ve played in it and the role I think I can play in it going forward if I choose to run. Plus, we have the World Cup bid. The sport is in a very different place than it was 10 years ago or 30 years ago when I first got involved. It’s all of that.”

Why does he deserve a new term? “I don’t think that’s a decision that you or I get to make. That’s a decision that people who get to vote make. I don’t judge … Bruce’s record on this last game but by the totality of everything he’s done. And if I look at the totality of where we’ve come from and where the game is generally now with our professional leagues, with player development, with our economic resources, all those things, those things don’t happen overnight. And they didn’t happen on their own. So I think if you look at all of that, then I’ll make a decision and voting delegates can make a decision.”

What would he have done differently? “Certainly, there are things you would do differently. I think that’s probably true for all of us, and it’s certainly true for me. The number of places that one can make substantive changes or decisions, in my role, are relatively limited, but they’re big decisions, obviously. The same is true for the coach or the players."

What will be reviewed? “This will obviously be a much deeper dive given that we haven’t qualified for the first time in 28 years but we will look at everything, from our player development programs, to our coaching, to our refereeing to our facilities to the pay-to-play model to the role of universities. Where we need to make major changes, we’ll do that. Where we need to make incremental changes, we’ll do that. We’ll take our time with that."

Will a new senior technical director be hired?
"That role is a very unique and specific role and frankly, in many ways harder to fill than the national team coach role. And it’s also, in terms of measuring success or failure or progress of that role, it’s much harder because it’s a long-term situation.”

30 comments about "Defiant Gulati doesn't plan on resigning".
  1. Julio Moreira, October 14, 2017 at 12:01 a.m.

    Now is time for Sunil to go back to his profession, and someone please remind him that the soccer ball is round and that is eleven players with a uniform agains other eleven in a different color uniform, perhaps he’ll finish his chaotic presidency knowing the basics of the game. Keep in mind that he was appointed not elected by his boss, former USSF Head, Rosenberg (10 million dollar man)

  2. Ric Fonseca replied, October 14, 2017 at 3:37 p.m.

    Julio, with all respect, Gulati was NOT appointed by his former WCUSA94 boss, Alan Rothenberg. He was elected to the post, so please read the US Soccer Constitution, By-Laws and Rules and Regs.

  3. Julio Moreira, October 14, 2017 at 12:03 a.m.

    Martino is the only world known coach and with experience , coached Argentina National Team And Barcelona, he will be great for the USMNT, no more unknown technical directors that are not real coaches of the game, never played the game, US deserves better. SUNIL RESIGN NOW. 
    Have some dignity

  4. Ric Fonseca replied, October 14, 2017 at 3:45 p.m.

    Hola otra vez, Senor, no  por favor y el amor de DNS, no tecnicos del extranjero, mira nada mas lo que nos paso antes del ascenso de Arena. No Mr. Moreira, no more foreign coaches, my goodness sakes alive, look what brought us to this debacle before Arenas ascencion!!! How many times must be touch the boiling coffee pot before we realize the pot is hot as hell?

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, October 14, 2017 at 6:54 p.m.

    I agree with Ric. Too many people are crying over losing one match. The situation and the problems are the same regardless of winning or losing the T&T match. One match or even the current 23 players are not the challenge. The challenge is growing the sport--players, coaches and officials. 

  6. Right Winger replied, October 14, 2017 at 10:57 p.m.

    Tab Ramos

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, October 15, 2017 at 1:56 p.m.

    Agreed Fanfor. Ramos is the obvious choice and more obviously being groomed for the 2022 cycle becuase he wasn't given the 2018 mess that Arena volunteered for. Ramos is not the only promising former-national-team-player coach we have.

  8. T michael Flinn, October 14, 2017 at 7:36 a.m.

    The Nats cannot have Tata. He is bringing success to Atlanta. 

  9. Lonaka K, October 14, 2017 at 8:52 a.m.

    I would support Sunil running for another term (which would be his last), however the sport needs new blood just as it does at the coaching ranks.  US Soccer cannot continue to bring in retreads and expect things to get better.  Also, past records of coaches should play a very vital part in their selection.  In addition, selecting foreign coaches does not guarntee success.  

  10. C K, October 14, 2017 at 10:04 a.m.

    It's easy to be critical of Gulati at this time, but he has done good for our sport.  The issue is sometimes in life you reach the end of where you can provide value and contribute in a meaningful way.  That's where Gulati is.   If he loved the sport he'd realize that and step down like a man of character, so someone else can come in and move our program confidently to the next level.  You can say a lot of things about Arena, but I 100% respect him.  In stepping down he showed his class and character as a man!  Gulati should do likewise.  If Gulati loved the game as much as he loved himself he'd step down.  Don't count on it!!!  

  11. Ric Fonseca replied, October 14, 2017 at 3:47 p.m.

    C,K,  So whaich is it: "tomatoe," or "tomatoh?"  

  12. Right Winger replied, October 14, 2017 at 10:54 p.m.

    That's called the point of diminished returns and gulati but that a long time ago.

  13. Nalin Carney, October 14, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

    I would like to see Mr Gulati given another term.  He has done a great job.  Certainly mistakes have been made .... and it is really easy to see them the day after.  Mr Arena has also done a great job.  I would like to see him re hired after the board decides on a new president.  Kudos to all who have served so well for the last 28 years.

  14. Right Winger replied, October 14, 2017 at 10:52 p.m.

    Very good satire

  15. Walt Pericciuoli, October 14, 2017 at 10:50 a.m.

    Gulati seems to belive that he has been responsible for the progress US Soccer has made over the past 30 years. As if we would still be in the dark ages of the 50's and 60's without him. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time and made sure not to get in the way. That's it. Our sport has grown and prospered despite him. It has grown because of the hard work of millions of volunteer workers and lovers of the game who along with a few key millionaires and businessmen put their blood, sweat and fortunes on the line for what they belived. That youth boom of the late 60's and 70's, they inspired, is now paying off it's dividends in fan support. 
    US Soccer today is no longer an Amatuer operation. It is a professional oranization with billions of dollars at stake. US Soccer needs to be lead by professionals, and leaders must be held accountable. Failure is failure. We have not made progress on the world stage since 2002. Thats 15 years of a flat line or downward trend. CEO's and management, don't usually keep their jobs with that kind of record.
    There is no argument that Gulati can make that argues for him to keep his job. He has failed to achieve the most important objective, qualify for and win the World Cup. All other objectives are are secondary.   

  16. M S replied, October 14, 2017 at 10:59 a.m.

    Thankyou. Same goes for Mls. It came along atthe right time. The potential just wasnt there in the Nasl days. Im tired of hearing all these cheerleaders say its all due to Garber and Sunil. Its not. Its dude to circumstances. Did these 2 magically convert millions of soccer enthusiasts?
    No Ilegal and legal immigration did most of that.

  17. Boston Baby, October 14, 2017 at 12:37 p.m.

    Sunil is so full of himself he should run for congress.  He's stalling, hoping everything will blow over.  Period.  The bottom line is he hired Arena to save our qualification and his hire failed.  Arena was either told to quit or be fired or actually did the right thing on his own.  We'll never know.  Sunil on the other hand is just as sleezy as any elected official when it comes to taking responsibility and "paying the fiddler"   He will distract, say there's too much to do for him to quit now, hope people start looking at something else and then slink into another 4 years.   I dont think it will work this time.  People are too mad and he's right in the middle of everything.  He would be smart to resign and acknowledge his part of this failure.  Of course he has no honor so its straight to congress for Sunil after this gig

  18. Mark Calcat, October 14, 2017 at 1:03 p.m.

    I have been critical of Gulati since his election. As far as the National Teams are concerned, I'm still waiting for a good decision from him. Appointing Bruce was a good decision but two years too late. Go back to teaching, Sunil. I'm old, and would like to see our WNT soar again and the MNT achieve a proud result before I am over the goal line.

  19. lee campbell, October 14, 2017 at 1:26 p.m.

    Tremendous that Mr. Galati feels passionate about the game.  I think we all do.  However, when you go from worrying about Honduras to losing to Trinidad, its clear that such great ideas as JK's Germany first selections and the nation wide emphasis on a 4-3-3 when the national team rarely used it indicates a bankrupt thought process.  Weren't the age group changes advertised as an improvement?  

  20. David Lu, October 15, 2017 at 10:20 a.m.

    $$$ who wants to quit when he can control the money!  Whether is the USSOCCER, MLS and/or the 2026 World Cup committee, it is all about $$$.

  21. Andrew Kear, October 15, 2017 at 11:38 a.m.

    The damage done by the lost to Trinidad is so severe there maybe little anyone can do for the next 18 months. For the first time in nearly 30 years US soccer is virtually meaningless. I just realized the US has qualified for the world cup as long as the Simpsons has been on the air (1990). I really thought the US could qualify for the next 50 years. Obviously, the US simply is not a soccer power. We are just slightly more talent than Trinidad.

  22. cisco martinez, October 15, 2017 at 12:35 p.m.

    Gulati needs to go back to his profession as. Economic professor. Go back to teaching kids about supply side economics.

  23. R2 Dad, October 15, 2017 at 4:22 p.m.

    Shouldn't the senior technical director be the USSF President? We have recommendations (like Claudios Reynas: from advisors and directors, but without the weight of the president's office they won't go anywhere. No more wild west. No more Sunil. We need structure, and all the whiny coaches in this country need to suck it up and get in lock-step. It's not all about coaches in this country, contrary to immodest opinions. it's about players and player development, not your f-ing winning streak.

  24. Scott Johnson replied, October 15, 2017 at 5:07 p.m.

    Not necessarily; different skillsets are needed for the job.  JK wasn't actually a bad technical director (even if he left much to be desired as manager of the senior team), but he would be out of his depth as president of the federation.  Being president is a political post, first and foremost.

    And part of a job being political is you often get to take credit for other people's successes, but often get blamed for other people's failures.  Was it Gulati's fault that the US will be watching the World Cup on television?  Directly, no--many of the players had lost form since 2014; playing in MLS probably didn't help them, and the coaching turmoil didn't help.  OTOH, Gulati did hire Klinsmann (and then Arena), US Soccer has subordianted its needs somewhat to those of the domestic league (including the undermining and sacking of Klinsmann for speaking the truth about it's quality), and the transition to the DA program probably is a cause of the "lost generation" whose absence hurt the US this cycle.  In Gulati's favor, the DA is now producing a very talented crop of young players, albeit ones who (other than Pulisic) aren't ready for the senior team.

    But again--the job is political.  And if a politician loses the confidence of his constituents, then it is his duty to step aside--even if the circumstances that led to his demise aren't his fault.  

    Forcing Gulati out at this time probably won't do anybody any good.  OTOH, it is probably time for him to pass the torch to somebody else and not seek re-election.  

  25. Scott Johnson replied, October 15, 2017 at 5:20 p.m.

    One more thought:

    The danger of getting rid of Arena and now Gulati, especially if both are subject to bit of ritual humiliation, is that people will think that the job is then done; that the goat bearing the sins of US soccer has been driven out of town and thus all is now well.

    The challenges facing US soccer aren't due to any particular individual or faction within the Federation, or that our coaches aren't good enough, or that we don't have pro/rel or any other dead horse that people around here like to beat.  The fundamental challenge is getting soccer to the point where it is a grassroots game for a far larger portion of the country, where it is as important to the national psyche as football, basketball, or baseball, where dads and moms can expertly teach the basics of the game to their kids and their kids' friends, where soccer is being played in the streets, and not just a few hours a week at practice and during weekend games.  Where kids who play the sport at a high level don't have to get on an airplane to find adequate competition.  

    Many of the changes that need to be made are a) things that US Soccer cannot control--it can only nudge them in the right direction and remove obstacles, and b) won't produce results for a decade or more.  You can't take an average 21-year old man, send him to Europe, and expect a Messi.  You can't take a precocious teenager, send him to Dortmund, and get back a Pulisic.  Like fine scotch, what you put in the barrel today won't be ready to drink for a very long time.

  26. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 16, 2017 at 9:40 a.m.

    Great posts, Scott.  Agree 100%.  

  27. R2 Dad replied, October 16, 2017 at 10:38 a.m.

    Scott, I don't buy your arguement, which is essentially that this is a cultural issue which USSF/MLS can't fix so why bother trying? I'm for a USSF independent from MLS, making decisions that are good for the quality of the game in this country rather than good business for a select group of owners.

  28. Kris Spyrka, October 16, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.

    My 2 cents, he (Gulati) won't resign.  I speculate that there must be some sort of a lucrative payday for him hanging on, if he gets the WC here in 2026.  I surmise some sort of back channel payola system with FIFA, like Beckenbauer in 2006.

  29. Andrew Kear, October 17, 2017 at 9:52 a.m.

    If he has any self respect he will resign now. It is hard to lead when nobody respects you anymore. However, he will get respect if he resigns like Arena did.

  30. Ben Myers, October 17, 2017 at 11:37 p.m.

    Here's why Gulati must resign.  Let's look at it in terms of the crudest oversimplified economics.  After all, Gulati has a PhD in Economics.  Failure to qualify for the World Cup will cost various soccer and media entities megabucks in lost revenue.  Gulati did not get this, even after the so-so performance of the USMNT in the last World Cup?  Makes my head spin.

    Worse yet, after Russia 2018, US soccer will be preceived by the masses as so much stale beer, rather than something that gives one a buzz.  A lot of soccer people in this country are going to have to pull their weight (me, too) to help rebuild a competitive US Mens Soccer.  This will be a long hard process and it needs someone at the top of USSF who understands this and is willing to LEAD US Soccer out of the wilderness.

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