down as U.S. Soccer president on Thursday night following another day of backlash to the federation's legal filings on Monday night in U.S. district court in Los Angeles, where members of the U.S.
women's national team players have filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the federation.
Cordeiro's sudden resignation leaves Hall of Famer Cindy Parlow Cone
as the new
president. Cone, who was re-elected as vice president at U.S. Soccer's National Council meeting in February, is the first female president and will serve as president until next year when an election
will be held at the next National Council in Atlanta to fill the final year of Cordeiro's four-year term.
In 2022, another election for U.S. Soccer president will be held for the next
four-year term from 2022 to 2026, just before the USA is slated to co-host the World Cup with Canada and Mexico. Labor battles.
Labor relations between the federation and the women's national team have been contentious for years, and the origins of the current legal dispute stem from a complaint filed by the women before the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2016.
The federation and the women reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement in 2017. But the women's EEOC complaint moved
forward when they filed a federal lawsuit under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII in March 2019.
The lawsuit is slated to go to trial in May, and both parties have filed motions for summary
judgment, arguing there is no need for a trial because even if you took the facts in the most favorable light to the other side, they'd win.
It was the response to the players' motion for
a summary judgment by Brian Stolzenbach
, the federation's counsel from high-profile labor management firm Seyfarth Shaw, that touched off the current outrage. To attack elements of the women's
case, Seyfarth Shaw argued, among other things, that the job of a men's national team player requires a higher level of skill and more responsibility than that of a player on the women's national
On Wednesday, four U.S. Soccer sponsors -- Coca-Cola, Visa, Deloitte and Budweiser -- lashed out at the federation for its sexist positions. At the SheBelieves Cup, where they beat
Japan, 3-1, to win the tournament, U.S. women wore their warmup jerseys inside out to show the four stars for their four world championships but hide the federation crest as a sign of protest.
On Thuesday, MLS commissioner Don Garber
, the longest-serving voting member of the U.S. Soccer board of directors, weighed in.
“I expressed to the president of the
federation in no uncertain terms how unacceptable and offensive I found the statements in that filing to be,” Garber said. “Those statements do not reflect my personal view, nor do they
reflect the views of the Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing families. I intend to immediately address this issue with the U.S. Soccer board of directors.”
It was clear
that Cordeiro had lost the support of the board when Chris Ahrens
and Parlow Cone -- two of his closest supporters -- both tweeted their displeasure.
Ahrens is the chairman of the
Athlete Council that holds 20 percent of the voting control of the federation's National Council and was instrumental in elevating Cordeiro to the position of federation president in 2018 to succeed
Cone, who won the 1999 World Cup and two Olympic gold medals, has been active in federation affairs for most than two decades.
She served as an adviser to the Athlete Council and received Cordeiro's blessing to run for vice president in 2019 to fill the last year of his term.
On Wednesday, Cordeiro issued an apology, saying the language of the positions taken by Seyfarth Shaw did not reflect the values of the
federation and he was asking Latham & Watkins -- the federation's long-time outside counsel -- to join and guide its legal strategy in the case.
In his letter of resignation, Cordeiro
took responsibility for not reviewing the Seyfarth Shaw reply brief.
“It has become clear to me that what is best right now is a new direction,” Cordeiro wrote. “The
arguments and language contained in this week’s legal filing caused great offense and pain, especially to our extraordinary women’s national team players who deserve better. It was
unacceptable and inexcusable. I did not have the opportunity to fully review the filing in its entirety before it was submitted, and I take responsibility for not doing so. Had I done so, I would have
objected to the language."
Born in India and raised in Miami, Cordeiro is a former Goldman Sachs partner who joined the federation in 2006 as the board's first independent director. He
later served as treasurer and was elected as vice president in 2016.
Cordeiro had been considered Gulati's likely successor in 2022 if Gulati won a fourth and final term as president in
2018, but Cordeiro jumped into the race in the fall of 2017 before Gulati even decided not to seek re-election after the USA failed to qualify for the 2018 Wotld Cup in Russia.
the Athlete Council support, Cordeiro defeated SUM CEO Kathy Carter
and five other candidates in a hotly contested election that went three rounds in February 2018.
had limited soccer knowledge, advocated giving responsibility to federation affairs to experts, creating new management positions to run the men's and women's national team programs. But he left on
Thursday without hiring a new CEO to replace Dan Flynn
, who stepped down six months ago. The search had actually begun during Gulati's tenure in October 2017 when a search firm was hired.
"I want to thank
Carlos for his many years of hard work and dedication on behalf of U.S. Soccer," said Parlow Cone. "He is a good man with a good heart and his significant work to help bring the 2026 World Cup to the
United States will have a positive impact for generations. The passion that has come to the surface in the past two days is what inspires me to look forward, to work hard towards mending relationships
and moving the game forward for all."
Parlow Cone, who works with the North Carolina FC youth program as the girls' director of coaching for the Durham/Chapel Hill teams, is the first
president who has represented the USA internationally -- 158 caps and 75 international goals -- since Werner Fricker.