In the wake of the disaster that was the US soccer team failing to make the World Cup, there’s been a lot of talk about who to blame and how to fix this mess. The current president of the US Soccer Federation, Sunil Gulati, has announced that he will not run for re-election, which is good. Because after a mess like this qualifying cycle, it’s clear that at this point if US Soccer isn’t broken, it’s definitely in need of heavy repairs.
Somehow, there is an attitude of arrogance that’s infected US Soccer in a way that doesn’t exactly match up with the accomplishments of US Soccer. There needs to be an injection of new ideas, new thoughts, and a new direction. And the best way to do that is with a new president.
And there is already a crowded field that includes soccer executive Kathy Carter, federation vice president Carlos Cordeiro, a number of former men’s players, and a variety of other characters. As you know, I have yet to announce my endorsement of a candidate, because I was waiting for the right time. And for the right candidate. And I think I may have found that person. Because last night, we got the news that we’d all been waiting for.
I am talking about two-time Olympic champion, a World Cup winner, one of the true greats this country has ever produced in the sport of soccer. I am talking about…
Hell. Freaking. Yes. Hope Solo is running for president of the US Soccer Federation. She announced her candidacy yesterday in a nearly 1,500 word post on Facebook and while my official position has been to remain neutral in the campaign for president of the US Soccer Federation, after reading her statement, I am this close to abandoning that stance.
Because she makes a lot of good points. Her platform is made of up four key planks:
1 – Know how to win: creating a winning culture at USSF
Yes. I’m all about that.
2 – Equality and Women’s Issues – push for equal pay for the US Women’s National Team and all women in the USSF workplace.
Couldn’t agree more. It’s well past time for this to be addressed.
3 – Youth and diversity at all levels – address the issue of “pay to play”
Pay to play is a massive issue and while fixing that doesn’t mean that the US will start winning not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six World Cup trophies, but it defies belief that US soccer isn’t missing out on talented players because they can’t afford to enter into the system at a young age.
4 – USSF Organization, Operational and Financial Governance Transparency
I’m also a strong supporter of transparency in the soccer federation.
Four great planks, one great candidate. And this isn’t some party crasher just looking to make a name for herself. She’s always been outspoken about issues regarding soccer governance.
And yes, the haters will say that she wasn’t a good teammate. And they’ll point to those comments that she made after the 2007 World Cup:
And they’ll point out the legendary meeting in her hotel room after she made those comments when some of her teammates said she had ruined everything that had been built by the players before her. And the one teammate who left the meeting saying to Hope, “I can’t even bleeping look at you.’
And they’ll point out that she was suspended by US Soccer just last year for “conduct that is counter to the organization’s principles” after calling the Swedish team a “bunch of cowards.” Whatever.
And they’ll point out that she was suspended the year before that for an incident where her husband, Jerramy Stevens, took a US Soccer van and was pulled over for a DUI while she was in the vehicle.
And they’ll point out that she has a history of trouble with the law, like that incident with her teenage nephew from back in the day.
I’m not going to deny that those incidents happened, but I am going to raise a question – what if that is exactly the kind of hero that US Soccer needs right now? What if they need someone to go a little psychotic on the old ways of doing things?
I don’t condone breaking the law or allegedly assaulting your teenage nephew. That’s not good at all. In fact, it’s terrible. But let’s not rule out the idea that maybe she’s learned from that.
When one of your teams has missed qualifying for the first time in decades, things are pretty bleak. Things are pretty dark. And when things are bleak and dark, what do you need the most? You need Hope.. In fact, if you want to comment on this take and your support her candidacy the way I do, hashtag it, Hope’s no dope!!!