On Saturday, February 10th, Carlos Cordeiro was elected as the new president of US Soccer, earning 68.6% of the vote on the third and final ballot.
Cordeiro, while in a new position, is not unfamiliar with US Soccer. For the past two years, Cordeiro served as vice-president to Sunil Gulati, who recently resigned as president after the US Men’s Soccer National team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“I think I have the experience… the independence, the vision, and a very detailed plan to… actually deliver the change we need,” declared Cordeiro.
Cordeiro won in a very competitive election. He beat out former US soccer player Kathy Carter, TV soccer analyst Kyle Martino, Fox Sports 1 commentator Eric Wynalda, and former women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo in the third and final round of voting.
“I think we are at an inflection point in soccer history in this country,” Cordeiro said on Saturday after winning the election. “I think we have an opportunity to really transform it into a number one sport. I think the demographics favor that.”
Interestingly, Cordeiro openly admits that he is not a soccer expert — in fact, he is far from it.
Cordeiro moved from India at age fifteen, and a few years later attended Harvard University on a scholarship and eventually attended Harvard Business School. After business school, Cordeiro became an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, and also helped advise governments, including Nelson Mandela’s post-apartheid South Africa.
While Cordeiro does not have much soccer playing experience, he is a business magnate and hopes that his experience will help the Red, White, and Blue land an upcoming 2026 World Cup bid, which is due in just over a month.
“Our priority will be securing the World Cup for 2026,” said Cordeiro.
The United States Soccer Board plan to launch a bid to host the 2026 World Cup in partnership with Mexico and Canda, and hope that under Cordeiro’s leadership their chances of winning are high. While the United States looks to co-host the World Cup with Mexico and Canada, they plan on hosting 60 of the 80 games.
For a daunting task such as the upcoming bid, Cordeiro explains that experience is very important in order to be successful.
“You need experience of the functioning of an organization for this role,” he said. “We have a $110 million budget which needs to be managed, plus there’s a lot of stuff happening underneath the surface which require experience and leadership.”
While Cordeiro is not overwhelming flashy or ostentatious, he brings with him a strong résumé and lots of experience.
However, those who were hoping for a radical change in US Soccer are not happy with the result of the vote. According to an ESPN report, “The win for Cordeiro, whose role as president is effective immediately, deals a blow to those who called for changes in the sport’s national governing body after the World Cup qualifying failure …”
Cordeiro is aware that many are frustrated with the result of the election but hopes to change this quickly. “To those of you who didn’t vote for me, I’m going to work to earn your support and trust over the next four years. I promise I will work for all of you to bring us together as one soccer community,” he said.