U.S. Soccer presidential race: The Sunil speech

Outgoing U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati gave a 17-minute speech at the 2018 US Youth Soccer gala dinner in Philadelphia on Jan. 20.

In the speech, he repeated earlier comments he had made bemoaning the tenor of the current presidential campaign in which eight candidates are vying to succeed him.

He went through a list of statements he had heard from candidates over the course of the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia. They ranged from, he said, "disappointing and disgusting."

“The facts don’t get changed by calling people names, or saying they’re not competent, or having trucks outside,” Gulati said. “There’s ways to have elections with a positive tone, and the tone in this election is far from that, and to me that’s very disappointing."

He was particularly incensed at attacks on U.S. Soccer leadership in the form of a truck parked outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center with a video playing over and over again, accusing former SUM president and presidential candidate Kathy Carter of being his puppet and attacking MLS commissioner Don Garber and U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro, who is also running for president.

Gulati did not name names in his speech, but perhaps his most passionate rebuke was to a statement he read out from the New York Times story on candidate Eric Wynalda in which the Hall of Famer criticized U.S. Soccer's board of directors and paid staff members.

Among the issues Gulati raised was the notion that pay-to-play could be ended by using U.S. Soccer's surplus. He said spending a tenth of the surplus -- $15 million -- would not begin to put a dent in the billions of dollars spent each year on soccer.

“I did economics as an undergrad," he said, "not math. But that math does not pencil out, and it doesn’t pencil out for any of you, just do the math -- pretty simple. It’s billions of dollars. So when you hear things like that, challenge it. Think about it. Ask questions.”
7 comments about "U.S. Soccer presidential race: The Sunil speech".
  1. Wallace Wade, February 1, 2018 at 8:12 p.m.

    If you wonder where the arrogance at US Soccer comes from, you don’t have to look too far. From the top.

  2. John Soares, February 1, 2018 at 11:31 p.m.

    But was he telling the truth???  
    Do the numbers in fact not add up???
    I don't know.
    However the LAST thing USA soccer needs is a lot of bull.
    "Compaign" promises and commitments that can not and will not be delivered.
    ....Whom ever is responsible for that truck is NOT what USA soccer needs as a leader.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, February 2, 2018 at 10:31 a.m.

    Yes he was telling the truth. One billion is 1,000 millions.

    "Campaign promises" mean little. The member organizations are deciding what kind of executive each candidate will make. I expect that an outsider is unlikely to be elected, because that is normally how groups work. 

  4. John Bolger, February 2, 2018 at 12:32 a.m.

    Did Sunil apologize for the changing of the youth date to a calendar year, splitting classmates for the benefit of less than 1% of all youth players.  Just another example of his not thinking of the ramifications of his decisions.

  5. Bob Ashpole, February 2, 2018 at 10:25 a.m.

    Insulting the USSF member organizations and leadership is not the path to gaining their votes. Give some people rope and they will hang themselves. I say that without knowing which candidates said what.

    Gulati's remarks are a warning to the candidates, which should have been unnecessary. The candidates should be building bridges, not burning them. Only one of them will win, and then they go to work the next day. 

  6. Gabe D, February 2, 2018 at 10:44 a.m.

    Despite plenty being said in the campaign that is unrealistic and even silly from some of the candidates, this is an absolutely embarrassing display of ego. Sunil really thinks he owns soccer in this country. It's become crystal clear why this federation is so tone-deaf to criticism and closed to input. While I'm not that optimistic change will come quickly or easily, the time to move on and start the process can't come soon enough.

  7. R2 Dad, February 5, 2018 at 4:05 p.m.

    Listened to his entire rant. So Sunil would rather whine about basically everything and everyone--that's not leadership. WRT transparency, using the least common denominator argument to rationalize why there isn't more transparency is lame. "why do I have to be transparent when all you in the audience aren't held to that some high standard?" He defended the status quo in front of the voting ranks (all of whom voted for him), forgetting that it's the public at large--that doesn't have a vote--who are most angry with the failures of US Soccer. He's even wrong on payment for the position. Being on the payroll means you are held accountable. Take the money and take the criticism. But not taking the money does NOT mean you are above criticism, but maybe that's why he is so butthurt.

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