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How will US Soccer’s presidential election work?

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With plenty of scrutiny surrounding U.S. Soccer after the USMNT failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, current U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) president Sunil Gulati is under plenty of pressure to step down.

[ MORE: Cordeiro enters the race ]

Gulati has said he will not resign from his position but is yet to declare if he intends to run to be reelected as president in the upcoming election in early 2018. One thing is for sure: there will be contenders this time.

For the last 11 years Gulati has run unopposed in USSF presidential elections but several contenders are lining up and it is an intriguing time for everyone connected with U.S. Soccer. But how will all of this work?

Below is an explainer on the upcoming presidential election, who could take charge and how the voting system works.


When did candidates have to declare their interest?
Presidential candidates have to declare their interest by December 10, 2017, and have at least three formal nominations from current members to be eligible.


When does the election take place?
At the U.S. Soccer AGM on February 10, 2018 in Orlando, Florida.


Who votes?
A breakdown on who votes is below, with the percentage of the vote from each group on the right. In the Athletes Council the likes of Brad Guzan, Stu Holden and Carlos Bocanegra will be part of the voting committee, while the Professional Council includes MLS Commissioner Don Garber and North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik among others.

Youth Council: 25.8%
Adult Council: 25.8%
Professional Council: 25.8%
Athletes Council: 20%
Miscellaneous: 2.6%


Who wants to be U.S. Soccer president?
Steve Gans – A lawyer and former COO, Boston-based Gans has a strong business background and plans to fix the “pay-to-play” culture in youth soccer by using USSF funds. Would also appoint a GM/Technical Director for USSF to deal with soccer decisions.

Paul Lapointe – A long-time player, coach and official in the lower tiers of U.S. Soccer who wants promotion/relegation in the lower tiers but not in MLS. Currently the Northeast United Premiere Soccer League (UPSL) Conference Manager.

Eric Wynalda – Outspoken former USMNT standout. Promises sweeping changes to structure, youth development, adding promotion/relegation and potentially changing the MLS schedule to fall/spring to match the rest of the world. TV analyst who is likely to get plenty of attention as the anti-establishment choice.

Carlos Cordeiro – Current vice president of USSF, who announced he will run this week. Long-time friend of Gulati with a hugely impressive business background who openly admits he isn’t a soccer expert. Some believe Cordeiro would simply be like having Gulati in charge. He wants to bid for the 2027 Women’s World Cup.

Landon Donovan – USMNT legend has suggested he would like to run for president and his name would obviously get plenty of support but there are concerns over his lack of experience in terms of the business and political side of soccer.

Sunil Gulati – We don’t know if he is running for re-election but Gulati is in a very powerful position despite the USMNT’s failure. He is the head of the 2026 World Cup bid to bring the tournament to the USA, Canada and Mexico, plus he sits on the FIFA Executive Committee and is a long-time friend of current FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Even if he doesn’t stand for re-election, Gulati will likely still be on the U.S. Soccer board as a non-voting member just like previous USSF president, Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia.


Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

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In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

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While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad — 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse — 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti — 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria — 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin — 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya — 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal — 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva — 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim — 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka — 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien — 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon — 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha — 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin — 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys — 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET