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.”
USMNT: Decision on interim coach to be made in week or two
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.”