Sunil Gulati Won't Run for Re-Election as US Soccer President

Sunil Gulati Won't Run for Re-Election as US Soccer President

But the failure in October of the United States national team to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation - a crushing disappointment to the team, to Gulati and especially for fans who had come to expect its quadrennial presence in the tournament - allowed long-simmering complaints about Gulati's leadership and his style to burst into public view.

Sunil Gulati has made a decision to end his 12-year reign as U.S. Soccer president by not running in February's election, and the initial reaction is: Maybe the United States is finally becoming a soccer country.

As things stand, Gulati is one of eight candidates officially in the mix to run for the presidency in 2018, including former NBC Sports soccer analyst Kyle Martino and ex-USMNT players Eric Wynalda and Paul Caligiuri. In the three full men's World Cup cycles of Gulati's reign, the USA advanced to the knockout rounds in two (good!) but then failed to qualify at all for Russian Federation 2018 (disaster).

Gulati took over as U.S. Soccer President in 2006 and has run unopposed in every subsequent election.

"The loss to Trinidad was painful, regrettable and led to a lot of strong emotions", he said on Monday.

Keep in mind, the men's national team is also still looking for a new coach; head coach Bruce Arena resigned shortly after his team missed the World Cup. "So fair or not, I accept that and think it's time for a new person".

Gulati told ESPN he planned to continue in that role.

"Look, the general perception in the soccer community versus the people who vote in elections may be different right now", Gulati said. It's about 4 million registered players, referees, medical safety, grass-roots stuff.

The 58-year-old Gulati, who announced his decision Monday, has been a driving force in the USSF for more than 30 years. According to reports, Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter could run as well.

If Carter runs, she'd become the establishment candidate and likely have Gulati's support. "This was a very, very hard decision for me to make".