Orlando, Fl. – An election fueled by outraged calls for change in the aftermath of the United States Men’s National Team’s World Cup elimination ended today in Orlando, Florida with the elevation of the sitting Vice President of U.S. Soccer, Carlos Cordeiro.
Cordeiro’s ascension to the organization’s top spot was the culmination of a masterful campaign which saw the new President pull off a difficult strategy of highlighting his experience and his relationships within the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) while at the same time managing to convince voters that he was his own man, and not a surrogate for outgoing President Sunil Gulati.
Cordeiro was helped in that mission by his decision to declare his candidacy prior to Gulati’s announcement that he would step down after 12 years at the helm of U.S. Soccer.
Cordeiro also benefited from the perception that it was Soccer United Marketing CEO Kathy Carter and not Cordeiro, that was, in fact, the “establishment” choice.
Either way, it was clear after the first round of voting that none of the six “change” candidates would become President of U.S. Soccer at the end of this process.
Cordeiro topped the first ballot with 36.3% of the vote, leading Carter, with 34.6%, with the chasing pack led by Eric Wynalda, well behind.
After garnering a scant 0.5% of the vote Paul Caligiuri opted to end his campaign. Cordeiro looked to be on the road to victory when he improved his lead after the second round with Carter dropping a percentage point as the front-runner’s support broke the 40% mark.
With his vote total falling to 0, Michael Winograd withdrew from the race, as did Steve Gans, whose support dipped to 2.4% of the votes after the second round of voting.
Cordeiro was declared the new President of U.S. Soccer after the third round with 68.6% of the vote, helped to that impressive total when MLS moved to the Cordeiro camp, abandoning its preferred candidate Carter.
Cordeiro sought to begin the healing process brought about by this contentious campaign, both immediately following his victory and some time later in his first press conference as President of U.S. Soccer.
In fact, after noting that he was “very, very excited,” the newly elected President opened his inaugural presser by “thanking the seven other candidates.” “It was a very spirited campaign,” Cordeiro said, noting that “lots of very good issues surfaced. The membership” Cordeiro continued, “were more engaged than at any time I can remember in history, from the grassroots all the way to the pros.”
Sitting alongside U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, Cordeiro listed securing the 2026 World Cup as “the most important priority of the federation” a process that he said would begin on Tuesday morning when the U.S. Canada and Mexico will get together for a scheduled meeting.
Coming in just behind World Cup 2026 on the new administrations to do list is hiring two General Managers, one each to run the USMNT and the USWNT.
“The first priority, “Flynn explained “is on the men’s side.” Flynn declined to give out a timeline but said that “we have candidates identified” with Cordeiro chiming in to note that “the board has approved both positions.”
Cordeiro ran what could almost be described as a stealth campaign, ceding the spotlight to his more voluble opponents while he worked on taking care of business behind the scenes.
Cordeiro readily admitted that running for VP two years ago with “more or less the same voting base,” was “perhaps to my advantage” in this race. The new President added that he tried to focus on the issues and that tunnel vision was on display when Cordeiro and Hope Solo hugged as the former U.S. goalkeeper left the stage immediately after delivering a stinging attack on Cordeiro and Kathy Carter.
“To be honest I wasn’t listening to her speech at that point in time because I was about to walk up.” Cordeiro noted, however, that Solo has frequently criticized him in the past, adding that Solo “is free to say what she wants to say, I obviously don’t agree with that.”
That ability to focus on the job at hand served Cordeiro well as a candidate, now that he has won the job, that talent will surely be tested anew.