Hope Solo has thrown her hat into U.S. Soccer’s circus ring.
The former U.S. women’s national team superstar goalkeeper announced Thursday night she’s running for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, joining a host of candidates who are vying to replace Sunil Gulati as leader of the sport’s governing body in this country. Solo explained on Facebook why she wants the job, using her own experience to highlight U.S. Soccer’s failings.
“The systemic problem in U.S. Soccer starts at the youth level,” Solo writes. “Soccer has always been a middle class sport and in more recent times, has become an upper middle class sport. … I have personally witnessed young players heartbroken over the financial reality that they could no longer pursue their dream.
“Yes, most club teams ‘scholarship’ kids in, but it is the responsibility of the USSF to develop the best youth in America. The system has been set up to discriminate and to overlook the disadvantaged because of an arrogant belief that the United States possesses the worlds best athletes, so therefore we can get away without having the world’s best soccer players. It is an outdated and a painfully evident reality that the National Teams currently face.”
Solo becomes the ninth declared candidate in the race joining attorney Steve Gans, ex-players Kyle Martino, Eric Wynalda, Paul Caligiuri and Mike Winograd and soccer administrators Paul Lapointe, Carlos Cordeiro and Kathy Carter.
U.S. Soccer’s presidential race will begin in earnest Dec. 12, when formal nomination papers are due. Solo’s representatives told Sports Illustrated she already has secured the three nominations required to formally enter the race.
The election will take place Feb. 10 at U.S. Soccer’s annual general meeting. Gulati announced last week he won’t run for re-election after three terms and 12 years on the job.