A Quick Guide To Saturday’s U.S. Soccer Presidential Election

U.S. Soccer will name its first new president in more than a decade in an historic election on Saturday.

The U.S. Soccer Federation will elect its first new president since 2006 on Saturday. Exactly four months after the USMNT’s disastrous loss to Trinidad and Tobago, soccer’s governing body in America will finally be able to move forward with new perspectives, new ideas and, most importantly, a new U.S. Soccer president. 

The election will mark a massive shift in U.S. Soccer. For the last 12 years Sunil Gulati has served as U.S. Soccer president. Following calls for him to step down after the USMNT failed to qualify for the World Cup in October, he instead opted to not seek reelection

Even before Gulati announced he would not run for reelection there was no shortage of candidates for the gig, some more qualified than others. Ultimately, eight candidates received the necessary nominations and will be up for vote on Saturday.

U.S. Soccer President

Current U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati is not seeking reelection, but will continue to work to bring the World Cup to North America in 2026. Photo: @ChicagoSports | Twitter

The politics of the federation can be a bit tiresome, so here’s quick rundown of everything you need to know about the U.S. Soccer presidential election.

When/Where Is The U.S. Soccer Presidential Election?

Saturday, Feb. 10, in Orlando, Florida, during the National Council Meeting.

Why Should We Care?

With the state of U.S. Soccer in flux after the U.S. failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the U.S. Soccer presidential election marks the first time for real change moving forward. While the new president won’t be asked to completely overhaul soccer in America, the election will provide direction for the organization.

Additionally, one of the first tasks for the new U.S. Soccer president will be determining the head coach of the USMNT, which is currently under Dave Sarachan, whose contract expires in March. While the U.S. Soccer president does not have total power in this decision, he or she will have the final say. 

Who Are The Candidates?

U.S. Soccer President

Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter is one of the lesser-known candidates for U.S. Soccer president. Photo: @GoalAustralia | Twitter

The eight candidates for U.S. Soccer president are:

  • Paul Caligiuri (USMNT ex and scorer of this epic goal)
  • Kathy Carter (president of Soccer United Marketing)
  • Carlos Cordeiro (USSF vice president since 2016)
  • Steve Gans (lawyer involved in soccer since the 1970s)
  • Kyle Martino (former USMNT/MLS player, TV analyst)
  • Hope Solo (former USWNT goalkeeper)
  • Michael Winograd (corporate attorney and former college/professional player)
  • Eric Wynalda (fourth all time in U.S. goals, TV analyst)

Who Gets To Vote For U.S. Soccer President?

A number of different groups and individuals have votes in the election process. All must be present Saturday to cast a vote and no one can cast more than one vote, even if eligible through multiple capacities.

Those with votes include: 

  • The 91 state associations, four national associations and four professional leagues (full list here).
  • Voting members of the Athletes Council (made up of former players).
  • Voting members of the Board of Directors. 
  • Each past U.S. Soccer president (but not the current one).
  • Up to 12 Life Members (people who have been recognized for their long-time service and contributions to U.S. Soccer).
  • Voters from each National Association, National Affiliate, Other Affiliate, Disabled Service Organization and Associate. 
  • Voters chosen by Individual Sustaining Members (two fans, essentially). 

Does Everyone’s Vote Count The Same?

No, the votes are weighted. 

The Athlete’s Council’s ballots account for 20 percent of the total vote while the Credential Committee will determine the exact ratios for the rest of the votes when the exact number of voters is ascertained. In 2017, Youth, Adult and Professional Councils each accounted for 25.8 percent of the vote, with the remaining delegates counting for a total of 2.6 percent of the vote. 

How Does The Voting Process Work?

Votes are cast by a secret, electronic ballot. The candidate with the majority of votes wins. 

If there is no majority, another round of ballots will be cast until one candidate receives the majority. No candidates are dropped but candidates can withdraw at any point in the process. 

Will The Election Be Public?

Yes.

While the voting itself will be by secret ballot, with individual votes not made public, the election will be available to fans who sign up for free tickets (first come, first served) or those who watch online at ussoccer.com. 

What Happens After The Election?

As soon as the National Council Meeting concludes, the newly elected president begins his or her term. He or she will serve for four years, with a three-term limit.