Donovan mulls run for US Soccer presidency

Reuters
Gulati's position has come under intense scrutiny since the US last week failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, after losing its final qualifying game to Trinidad and Tobago.
Reuters

Former United States international Landon Donovan is considering running for president of the US. Soccer Federation (USSF), Sports Illustrated reported on its website on Wednesday.

Si.com reports that Donovan is "seriously considering" throwing his name into the mix for the election early next year. Current president Sunil Gulati has not yet said he was standing again but was expected to run for his fourth three-year term.

Boston lawyer Steve Gans has also received the required three letters of nomination needed to run, the report added.

Nominees must submit their applications by December 12.

"Donovan, who had no comment, has been asked by a number of respected figures in American soccer to contemplate running," according to the report.

"They're concerned about Sunil Gulati continuing to control decisions on the technical side — including hiring head coach — and think Donovan is better qualified to handle the soccer aspects of the job."

Gulati's position has come under intense scrutiny since the US last week failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, after losing its final qualifying game against Trinidad and Tobago.

Gulati, 58, refused to resign after the World Cup debacle.

A senior economics lecturer at Colombia University in New York, Gulati has presided over a period of economical stability as USSF chief.

Donovan, 35, might not bring Gulati's economic knowledge to the job, but his playing credentials are second to none.

He scored 57 goals in 154 international appearances for the US and is the country's equal highest goalscorer with Clint Dempsey.

Donovan played for the red, white and blue in three World Cups but was left off the 2014 squad by then-coach Juergen Klinsmann, who was fired last November after the Americans opened the final round of regional World Cup qualifying with losses to Mexico and Costa Rica.

Bruce Arena returned to guide the squad but a 1-2 loss last week at Trinidad and Tobago saw it fail to qualify for the first time since 1986. Arena resigned as coach last week.

"I think there are a number of reasons we're missing the best kids, but the fact is we are missing a lot of the best kids," Donovan told the New York Times last week, speaking of the country's underachievement in the men's game.

"And that should not be the situation in a country of this size, with the resources we have, where kids are getting passed over for any reason, whether it's socioeconomic status, race, religion, proximity to a club."

AFP

Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation, attends a press conference at the One World Trade Center in New York in this April 10, 2017, photo. Gulati has come under pressure after the Americans failed to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia.


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