"It reaffirmed we were going about it the right way," he said of the reaction at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia.
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At 36, Martino is the second youngest candidate in the field -- just months older than Hope Solo -- and the youngest of the candidates given a shot at winning. That youth has been one of the concerns about his candidacy, but he says his Progress Plan was designed to show that he and others around him have a grasp of the issues.
"How we can ask this membership to take a leap?" he said. "No one in this race has done this job, no one in the race, even those on the inside, has seen the job done it the way it should be done. We’re taking a leap with anyone. I just want the membership not to take such a huge leap."
Martino is trying to portray himself as an acceptable reform candidate: "I'm on the change side of the spectrum, one of the least polarizing candidates in the election."
He said rumors about his intentions suggest he is viewed as a serious candidate with momentum. He insisted, though, he has not made any pacts with other candidates, and voters should view how he has conducted his campaign as how he'd operate as president.
"I’ve behaved how I will govern," he said, "and they don’t have to guess who I'll be after Feb. 10, they don’t have to guess what I’ll do after Feb. 10."
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Martino says he is dismayed with the tone of the campaign on social media.
"Ugliness and nastiness has come out and it's really, really disappointing," he said. "It is distracting from the people who need us the most, the kids who aren't enjoying their experience, coaches that are having difficult time getting licenses, referees who are not being able to get enough games, Paraolympians who are retiring at 24 in their prime, incredible women's soccer players who are retiring after college."
Martino said federation members whom he talks with every day notice it, too.
"Most of the membership I'm on the phone with say it disappoints them," he added. "It's abhorrent and it should stop. I've yet to talk to someone who enjoys these attacks. Everyone in this campaign, we are different, we all have our strengths, we all have our weaknesses. There is no perfect candidate. We are all people. And I think we are all good people with the good of the game as our priority and that it our motivation. We should be all going for the same things."