Former U.S. men's national team star Eric Wynalda
and Boston attorney Steve Gans
laid out their case to succeed U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati
at a forum organized by the U.S.
Adult Soccer Association held in Lake Tahoe. State of the race.
Wynalda announced plans to run for president on Friday.
Gans announced in mid-September and confirmed on Thursday he had received the three endorsements he needs from member organizations to be eligible to run
Gulati did not speak at the
forum, though, like Wynalda and Gans, he did talk at regional USASA meetings on Saturday morning. Gulati, who also talked at the beginning of the USASA's National Council meeting, said he has not
decided whether he'll run for what would be his last term under the federation's new term-limit rules. Primer: Here's how U.S. Soccer's presidential election works ... "We've got a soccer problem."
He acknowledged Gulati for his work in soccer over the last 30 years -- the last 12 as president -- and what
American soccer has accomplished and how it has excelled, but he said it is not good enough any more.
Wynalda's message was simple: "We've got a soccer problem." He said he understands
how some members might question his ability to run a $100 million organization, but that soccer's issues are bigger than that.
"If we don't take care of the product," he said, "it will
not take care of us. We have a soccer problem, not a business issue."
Wynalda, who has worked in recent years as a Fox Sports analyst, said soccer has hit a ceiling under Gulati and he
was the person to build a couple of new floors.
"When we see performances like we did the other night," he said in reference to the USA's loss to Trinidad & Tobago, "they happen for a
He added that if there are any problems with the partnership between the federation and the men's national team they were 10 times worse with the women.
federation is here to provide guidance," he added. "It's to serve, not the other way around." 'Elephant in the room.'
the story of his life in soccer beginning as a child in Boston when his father, a German immigrant, would bring him along on the train to semi-pro games in New York and then to games in the Boston
area with the Astros and Minutemen.
Gans, who played in college, has worked on the board of a Development Academy team, FC Boston Bolts, and also as a soccer consultant for European
"I think I understand all segments of the game," said Gans, who emphasized his work running a "complex business" like U.S. Soccer as the chief operating officer and general counsel
for New England Mobile Book Fair and online food-book company Jessica's Biscuits. "My larger point is, I respect all segments of the game."
Gans said the elephant in the room had become
the men's national team following its loss to Trinidad & Tobago.
"Before last Tuesday night," he said, "there was too much focus on the national team, not enough on the
constituencies. Now, it is about national team -- we didn't make the World Cup.
Gans said, if elected, he wasn't going to pick the next men's national team coach all by himself but would
work with technical experts.
"But this job much bigger than just the national team," he said. "It is about leading the organization, about growing the pie, about business deals, about
consensus-building, about interfacing with organizations like yours, youth, athletes and pros."