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.