Current U.S. Soccer Federation president Cindy Parlow Cone is facing a re-election battle from predecessor Carlos Cordeiro and insists she is “the right person to lead".
This was Cone’s first statement since the USSF announced she and Cordeiro would both feature on the organization’s presidential ballot during the Annual General Meeting in early March.
Cone said: "I truly feel that I'm the right person to continue to lead U.S. Soccer at this time. I think we need to continue to look forward, not backward. We have a lot of stability and momentum moving right now. I'm all in, and continue to pour my heart and soul into U.S. Soccer for the next number of years.
“Obviously, we have faced some tremendous challenges, and I think I've led the organization with integrity and honesty. I took on this role, and I'm running for election because of my love of the game and my belief in the future of the game, and I believe in U.S. Soccer."
Cone took over as president in March 2020 after Cordeiro resigned amid a backlash to court filings relating to the equal pay lawsuit filed by members of the U.S. women's national team.
In one of the documents of the court filings, the USSF under Cordeiro and its lawyers underestimated the players by insisting they "do not perform equal work requiring equal skill and effort" because "the overall soccer-playing ability required to compete at the senior men's national team level is materially influenced by the level of certain physical attributes such as speed and strength".
Cordeiro later admitted at the time he didn't review the court documents filed by attorneys, but took responsibility for the filing's language.
After several months of scrutiny, Cone subsequently took over and was re-elected while running unopposed in 2021 to finish out Cordeiro's term.
Now, Cordeiro has decided to run again for his old job.
He announced his candidacy in the first week of January 2022, revealing: "Extreme budget and personnel cuts -- beyond what was required by the pandemic -- have made it harder to rebuild for the future. After nearly two years, the current U.S. Soccer leadership has still not resolved the various lawsuits facing the federation..."
Cone refuted by making the case for her re-election.
"I think over the last two years having led our organization through a pandemic, hiring a new senior team overseeing the largest sponsorship deal in [federation] history, I could go on and on," she said. "But together with our staff and our board, we've made a lot of accomplishments in a very challenging time, and so I'm hoping that the membership we'll see what we've done.
"Has it been perfect? No, of course not. There's still a lot of work to do, and we have a lot more that we want to accomplish in that. I would like to have a presidency that's not constantly battling COVID."
The current president made her statement on the day where she, along with USSF CEO Will Wilson, reiterated the desire to have the respective unions representing the U.S. women's national team and U.S. men's national team agree on "identical" Collective Bargaining Agreements.
The terms include equal prize money, with Cone repeating the USSF's position that no CBAs for either side will be agreed unless it solves that issue.
The election between Cordeiro and Cone is set to take place on March 5 during the National Council Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Members of the National Council will vote in the election.