Steve Gans will challenge Sunil Gulati for the presidency of the U.S. Soccer Federation in February.
Gulati has never before been opposed in the three elections that have occurred every four years since he took charge of U.S. Soccer in 2006. He is yet to confirm if he will run for a fourth term in 2018, which would be his last under new term limits he supported.
Gans, 57, said in May that he was exploring the possibility of a run, and has now confirmed he will push forward with his candidacy for the election, which will be held at U.S. Soccer’s annual general meeting Feb. 8-11 in Orlando.
“The listening tour absolutely has confirmed that there’s a need for this,” Gans told The Washington Post. “I’ve talked to members of all the major constituencies and voting delegates and heard from people that it’s time for change.”
Gans previously worked for teams in the old NASL and indoor soccer’s MISL and is the founder of Professional Soccer Advisors, a group that represents European clubs in the U.S. He also assisted Boston’s local organizing committee for the 1994 World Cup.
Gulati is also a member of the powerful FIFA Council and played a visible role in the election of Gianni Infantino as FIFA president last year. Together with Mexico and Canada, he is heading a bid to bring the 2026 World Cup to the U.S.
But Gans targeted the current discord amid the U.S. men’s national team’s current struggles in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, which will go down to the final day of CONCACAF fixtures and possibly on to an intercontinental playoff.
“Look where we are right now,” Gans told the Post. “To me, it feels more like 1989 or ’90. It’s almost 30 years later and we’re such a robust soccer country in terms of participation. And the current president is reputed to spend most attention on the national teams, and look at this situation we’re in. So it’s time for a fresh perspective.”
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