A New Vision for US Soccer

As a soccer nation, we can be proud of our many successes over the years.  Together, we’ve brought millions of young people into the game and new, passionate fans into stadiums.  Our professional leagues have seen phenomenal growth and continue to expand.  There’s promising talent coming up the ranks, and our inspiring Women’s National Team is a three-time, reigning World Cup champion. 

But as we all know, we also face urgent challenges.  

At the highest level, the U.S. Soccer Federation has often been too insular and failed to truly listen to all members of our community. Disappointing results—including the heartbreaking failures of the Women’s National Team to win a medal in the Rio Olympics and the Men’s National Team to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup—have exposed underlying problems.  Many fans are rightly frustrated.

Player development at all levels has not received sufficient investment.  Our women’s teams should be respected and valued as much as our men’s teams, but our female players have not been treated equally.  We are missing opportunities to dramatically grow the game, especially among adults who play for a lifetime.  Youth Soccer is too fragmented and “pay-to-play” is so expensive that, sadly, many young people cannot afford to participate in the sport they love.  

It’s time for a change.

It’s time to Aim Higher.

It’s time for a new President of U.S. Soccer—a leader with a vision to grow the game at all levels and make soccer the preeminent sport in America, the independence to serve all members fairly, the business experience of leading and transforming large organizations and a record of service and commitment to our Federation.

I’m running for President of U.S. Soccer because I’m the only candidate with the experience, independence, vision and detailed plan to deliver the change we need right now.

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My Story

As an immigrant who came to this great country with my widowed mother and three siblings when I was 15—and then worked night jobs during high school and work-study in college—I know that when Americans set our sights high, we can accomplish anything.  I’ve been blessed to live the American Dream, and I want to help our athletes achieve theirs.

This election is not about who can kick the ball, coach a team or serve as CEO.  This election is about who has the vision, strategy and skills to serve as President of the Board of an organization with a 170-person staff, a $110 million budget, a $150 million surplus that needs to be invested wisely, more than four million youth, adults, coaches and referees, and growing sponsorships and global partnerships. 

With more than 30 years of international business expertise, I know how to recruit talent and build teams, establish trust, forge consensus and coalitions, manage multi-billion-dollar projects and grow businesses in new and competitive markets.  

I’ve dedicated the past 10 years of my life to USSF as an unpaid volunteer because I’m a passionate life-long fan of the game and believe we can take the sport to new heights in America.  I was an impartial voice as the Federation’s first Independent Director and have taken on additional roles and responsibilities to help address the structural and governance challenges we face.  After all, governance and growth go hand in hand—we won’t achieve more growth until we have great governance that works with and for all our members.

Specifically, I’ve helped to significantly increase our finances as Treasurer.  I’ve been humbled by the opportunity you’ve given me to serve as Vice President for nearly two years.  During this time, I’ve worked hard to reform governance and create new committees so that the Board is engaged in more decisions and is more transparent and accountable—and I know that even more progress is needed.  In addition, I am proud to represent U.S. Soccer at the global level where I work closely with our international partners as a member of the CONCACAF Council and FIFA’s Stakeholders Committee.  

I will always be guided by the only question that matters—what’s best for our sport?

My Plan for Change

Over the past several weeks since announcing my candidacy—and throughout my time as your Vice President—I’ve met with and listened to many of you.  I’ve heard your concerns and know how strongly many of you feel about the need for systemic and transformational change.  I agree.  Together, we’ve brainstormed ideas and collaborated to identify solutions.  My plan for change reflects our shared goals, and, working together, my plan can become our plan.      

If elected, I’ll work tirelessly—in a spirit of respect and inclusion for all our members—to preserve what’s right and fix what’s wrong.  To put us on par with the best soccer programs in the world—many of which already have much larger budgets than we do—I believe we should develop a plan to significantly grow our budget over the coming decade and use those funds to increase investments in all our players at all levels.

I’ll lead a comprehensive and fearless review of all major issues, with a focus on three priority areas:

Grow the Game at All Levels—To continue growing soccer in America at all levels and increasing U.S. Soccer membership, we must not only Serve the Athlete and Serve the Fans, we must Serve all our Members with a new Membership Department at Soccer House.  We should invest new resources to make soccer more accessible and affordable for youth, especially in our cities and underserved communities; treat referees with greater respect; help grow membership in adult programs; further develop our professional leagues; and advance our goal of significantly increasing our budget by building even stronger corporate partnerships, including sponsorships.

Develop World-Class National Teams—To make sure that our women defend their World Cup championship in 2019, ensure that our men return to the World Cup in 2022 and that both our men’s and women’s teams excel in 2026 and 2027—what I call Mission 26/27—we must: invest more in world-class coaches and training facilities; create a new Technical Department to recruit, select and manage all National Team coaches; work for equal pay and equal resources for our women athletes; and increase support for all national team athletes, including Youth and all disciplines.  In addition, I will champion our bids to co-host the Men’s World Cup in 2026 and host the Women’s World Cup in 2027.

Ensure Open, Inclusive, Transparent Leadership—To achieve the growth we want and ensure that our Federation truly listens to and collaborates with all USSF members as genuine partners, I will: lead with humility; insist on open and inclusive leadership that empowers our board to make more decisions; bring all stakeholders together around common goals; and make diversity and inclusion a priority across our Federation.  In particular, I will work to give current and former athletes a greater role and voice in decision-making at all levels.

I invite you to read my full platform and I’m eager for your feedback and ideas about how, together, we can do even better.  I want to listen, work with you and use this campaign to lay a foundation for the kind of collaboration our Federation needs going forward. 

We all love this beautiful game, and I believe that as soccer becomes an even greater part of our culture, it can be a unifying force that helps bring us together as a country, both on and off the field. I have no doubt that we can rise to this moment—because ever since I first stepped foot in this country as a boy, I have seen what Americans can achieve when we put our minds to it.

So let’s come together, Aim Higher and elevate soccer to what we know it can be—the preeminent sport in America and an undeniable force in the global game.