US Soccer reboots, elects Carlos Cordeiro president

ORLANDO, Fla (AP) — Carlos Cordeiro insists he’s the right choice to lead the US Soccer Federation, which must chart a new course after its men’s national team failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup.

The 61-year-old business executive won the governing body’s presidential election Saturday. He succeeds Sunil Gulati, who led the organisation since 2006.

Cordeiro was Gulati’s right-hand man the past two years. Now, he’s charged, among other things, with running the US end of a bid with Mexico and Canada for the right to host the 2026 World Cup.

Other priorities include the hiring of a general manager for the men’s team, a position Cordeiro said must be filled before launching a coaching search.

He reiterated the ultimate goal is to help soccer realise its vast potential in the United States.

“I think we have an opportunity to really transform it into a No 1 sport. I think the demographics favour that,” Cordeiro said.

“There’s a reason why the millennials identify with soccer, so I think that’s very much in our favour. We have to do a number of things ourselves to make it happen, and make it happen more rapidly.”

Cordeiro, a former Goldman Sachs partner, was elected on the third ballot with 68.6 per cent of the vote. The field initially featured eight candidates. Cordeiro pulled away from Kathy Carter, who is on leave as president of Major League Soccer’s marketing arm.

Carter had the backing of MLS Commissioner Don Garber and narrowly trailed Cordeiro on the first ballot. MLS, as well as the National Women’s Soccer League and United Soccer League, shifted their support to Cordeiro after the second ballot.