Carlos Cordeiro

CAMPAIGN INFORMATION


How has your campaign been funded?


I am self-funding my entire campaign. I have not accepted – and will not accept – any funds from any other person or organization. U.S. Soccer deserves a president who has no conflicts of interest and who is beholden to no one. I’m running my campaign just as I’ve conducted myself as an unpaid volunteer at USSF for the past decade and how I would serve as USSF President – with complete independence and dedicated to serving all members fairly.


Who is your current employer? While campaigning, have you resigned or taken a leave of

absence (if necessary)?


I worked in international finance for over 30 years, but am now fully retired. Other than the USSF board, I do not serve on any other boards.


VISION AND MISSION


The mission statement of the U.S. Soccer Federation is to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States. What does that mission statement mean to you?


I’m a strong supporter of the mission of the U.S. Soccer Federation to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States, and I have incorporated this mission into my platform, which is available at Carlos4soccer.com. To me, making soccer the preeminent sport in our nation means making it the leading sport—the first choice for athletes and the first choice for fans—and weaving soccer more deeply into the fabric of America, from our youth to our adults to our national teams. I’m running for President of U.S. Soccer because I’m the only candidate with the experience, independence, vision and detailed plan to realize this goal.


What is your vision for what success looks like in 5 -10 years for the USSF to be able to claim it is successfully living out its mission statement? What strategic initiatives will you implement to achieve that vision, both for the overall organization and per program?


Given the incredible growth of soccer in America in recent years, I believe that we have an historic opportunity over the next decade to dramatically grow the sport at all levels and advance our mission of making it the preeminent sport in the United States.


With the largest and most developed economy in the world with a population of 326 million people, including dynamic immigrant communities, and a young, energized and growing base of soccer fans, there’s no reason that the United States cannot bring many more players and fans into the game. This will require strong leadership, and in my platform I outline my vision in three priority areas where we need a series of strategic and

bold initiatives.


First, we need to grow the game at all levels and increase U.S. Soccer membership. We must not only Serve the Athlete and Serve the Fans, we must Serve all our Members with a new Membership Department at Soccer House. We should:


• invest new resources to make soccer more accessible and affordable for youth,

especially in our cities and underserved communities;


• train more coaches affordably and effectively;

• treat referees with greater respect;


• help grow membership in adult programs;


• further develop our professional leagues; and,


• significantly increase our budget by building even stronger corporate partnerships, including sponsorships.


Second, we need to develop world-class national teams. To make sure that our women defend their World Cup championship in 2019, ensure that our men return to the World Cup in 2022 and that both our Men’s and Women’s teams excel in 2026 and 2027—what I call Mission 26/27—

we must:


• invest more in world-class coaches and training facilities, including a new year-round National Training Center;


• create a new Technical Department to recruit, select and manage all National Team coaches and oversee player development;


• work for equal pay and equal resources for our women athletes; and,


• increase support for all national team athletes, including Youth and all disciplines, such as our Paralympians and beach and Futsal athletes who deserve equal respect and the resources they need to succeed on the world stage.


• In addition, I will champion our bids to co-host the Men’s World Cup in 2026 and host the Women’s World Cup in 2027.


Third, we need open, inclusive and transparent leadership. To achieve the growth that we want

and ensure that our Federation truly listens to and collaborates with all USSF members as

genuine partners, I will:


• lead with humility;


• insist on open and inclusive leadership that empowers our board to make more decisions;


• bring all stakeholders together around shared goals; and,


• make diversity and inclusion a priority across our Federation.


• In particular, I will work to give current and former athletes a greater role and voice in decision-making at all levels. After all, as a membership organization, we’re only as strong as our members and we’ll only go as far as we’re able to go together.


None of these initiatives can be pursued in isolation; in fact, they reinforce each other. We can’t have world-class national teams without growing the game at all levels, including Youth Soccer, where we begin developing the next generation of players. We can’t grow the game and invest more in our players without increasing our resources. We can’t increase our resources without strong governance. It’s a virtuous cycle, and it needs to start now.


ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT


If elected, how do you envision your role as President moving forward?


The position of President is not about kicking the ball, coaching a team or serving as CEO. I see the role of the President of the Board as similar to that of a Chairman of the Board of Directors – in the case of USSF, helping to oversee and ensure accountability for a 170-person organization with a $110 million budget, a $150 million surplus that

needs to be invested wisely and growing sponsorships and global partnerships.


What should your key roles and responsibilities be for the position and how do you describe success for the President for US Soccer?


Given the complexities of USSF described above, as well as the responsibilities of the position, I believe that in order to succeed the next President of U.S. Soccer will need to

have a vision to grow the game at all levels and make soccer the preeminent sport in America, the independence to serve all members fairly, the business experience of leading and transforming large organizations and a record of service and commitment to our Federation.


In addition, the next President will need the leadership style and temperament to truly listen to and treat all members of our community fairly, be transparent, abide by checks and balances and work collaboratively to bring all stakeholders together in coalitions around common goals. Success will involve engaging the Board of Directors and members of our community so that initiatives are fully vetted before important decisions are made and that all relevant stakeholders have an opportunity for input. In addition, the President must work with the CEO to ensure then USSF’s overall strategy is successfully executed.


Do you feel that this should be a paid position? Please explain your reasoning.


The President of U.S. Soccer is a non-executive role and therefore has never been a paid position. This is consistent with our bylaws and all national governing bodies for sports in the United States. I believe the position should remain unpaid. Our sport is defined by volunteerism. This is especially true at the grassroots where so many administrators, coaches and supporters are volunteers, and I believe that this spirit of volunteerism should also be reflected at the highest levels. 


I have been an unpaid volunteer at USSF for the past decade and have devoted myself to U.S.Soccer because of my personal commitment to the game. If elected President—like every previous president in the more than 100 years of the USSF—I will continue to serve as a volunteer. I am prepared to give my time and full attention—without compensation—to help bring about the change and transformation that we need at USSF.


GOVERNANCE

 

Many people have been calling for more transparency from US Soccer, what specific ways do you see in providing this?


I strongly agree that there needs to be more transparency at USSF. As Vice President for nearly two years, I’ve worked to reform governance and create new committees so that the Board is more engaged and so there is more transparency and accountability. But there is still more to do.Transparency is more than just showing others what you are doing or what you have done; it involves giving members a voice, listening to them and working with them. As I note above, I have made open, inclusive, transparent leadership one of the main priorities of my platform. Specifically, we need to:


• Clarify the role of President—which, like a Chairman of the Board, is a non-executive position, not the CEO—who must be truly independent, treat all members of our community fairly, be transparent, abide by checks and balances, and work collaboratively to bring all stakeholders together around common goals;


• Empower the Board, which represents our members, to play a greater role in, and oversight of, all Federation activities, including the creation of two new board-level committees: a technical committee, chaired by an Athlete Director, to oversee soccer operations, and a commercial committee, chaired by an independent director, to oversee all USSF commercial activities, including marketing and TV broadcast rights;


• Give current and former players a greater role and voice at all levels of decision-making and governance, by recruiting more athletes to the Athlete Council and integrating athletes across more committees, task forces and other appointments;


• Create a new Membership Department at Soccer House to better serve all USSF members, including dedicated staff liaisons to Youth and Adult Soccer to help improve communication, grow the grassroots, address member concerns and more carefully consider the impact of decisions on the ground before they are made; and,


• Make diversity and inclusion a priority across our entire Federation, including measuring our progress, holding ourselves accountable and appointing a full-time, paid Director of Diversity & Inclusion to promote equality across all programs for all athletes, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, socio-economic background or disability.


The USMNT’s CBA will be renegotiated in 2018 and the USWNT’s CBA will be

renegotiated in 2021. What will be your philosophy and approach to the negotiations? What experience do you have that would help you in CBA negotiations?

 

My philosophy is that these negotiations should be conducted in a spirit of respect and fairness. I believe in an approach that is different from the past. For example, the President and the Board

should set the tone, but not lead the negotiations, which should be conducted by the CEO and legal counsel. I would also include the three athlete representatives to the Board in this process. In more than 30 years in business, including my experience at the board level, I have been involved in many complex negotiations. For example, from 2005 to 2015, I served as an independent director of BHP Billiton, the world’s largest natural resources company, which

negotiated and worked with unions around the world. From these experiences, I have learned that it is almost always the case that all parties can be successful if you approach negotiations in a spirit of collaboration—not as a binary win-lose situation, but as an opportunity for a win-win result for all. This is particularly true for U.S.

Soccer, a not-for-profit organization where all of its funds go back to the sport and not shareholders pockets. With that in mind, as President, I will see to it that U.S. Soccer negotiations achieve the potential win-win position for both today’s players and future generations. Please note that the timing of the respective CBA negotiations reflected in this question also raises an issue which I answer below in response to the question on pay disparity.

 

What specific actions will you take to improve gender representation and pay disparity at US Soccer? Please address the difference in salaries of the USWNT and USMNT teams.


I am a strong supporter of greater equality, diversity and inclusion throughout U.S. Soccer. As I

note above, I believe we need a full-time, paid Director of Diversity & Inclusion to promote equality across all programs for all athletes, including women.


With regard to the Men’s and Women’s national teams, I have been clear that we need to work toward equal pay. While I do not support tearing up existing agreements and starting from

scratch, I do believe that where existing agreements are clearly unfair, adjustments can be made—and that we should do so immediately. 


Beyond player salaries, my platform also calls for equal resources for our women’s program— from the coaching staff to the training facilities to the travel accommodations. We don’t need to wait for CBA negotiations to make these changes; we can start this work now. It is simply the right thing to do.


To ensure equal pay going forward, we need to be open to new paradigms that achieve equality while recognizing the specific needs and desires of the Women’s and Men’s teams. There are

many ways to achieve this goal; the key is establishing the right process.

 

As an initial matter, we should look to find a way to get the USWNT and USMNT negotiations on the same cycle. Negotiating these agreements years apart presents an inherent challenge that

can lead to disparities if for no other reason than the passage of time.


Second, we should explore dividing the issues into two basic categories such as: (i) those that will be the “same” and (ii) those that will be “equal but not identical.” The “same” group would include items like resources for the programs such as number of coaches, training and support staff, training facilities, travel accommodations, etc. The “equal but not identical” group would include items such as base compensation where we would seek to have the respective teams receive an equal aggregate amount over the cycle, but recognize that how teams decide to divide that aggregate amount will likely differ as each negotiates to meet their specific needs (e.g., in the past the USWNT has preferred salaries while the USMNT has selected appearance fees). We need to be flexible in accommodating their respective wishes while seeking to achieve equity.


We also need to address bonus compensation, which by definition varies depending upon the performance of the different teams. Please note this is just one of many possible structures, but I thought it would be helpful to provide you with some specific ideas about how to achieve the equality and fairness that is so essential.


What is the relationship between US Soccer and Soccer United Marketing and how does it

affect the players?


U.S. Soccer and Soccer United Marketing have a long-term business relationship. SUM currently has a contract to be the exclusive marketing agency to sell certain U.S. Soccer properties through 2022. The funds generated from these sales represent a material part of U.S. Soccer’s annual budget.  


This arrangement directly impacts all USSF members, including our national team players and the grassroots; the more revenues we receive from the properties SUM sells, the more resources we have to invest in our sport, including players. U.S. Soccer is a very valuable brand with great growth potential, and we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to enhance the value of our brand and properties to help generate the funds we need to invest in our teams and sport. 


The unique ownership of SUM creates conflicts that need to be addressed. To avoid any and all conflicts going forward, USSF will need to ensure that any individuals with potential conflicts of interest are recused from any future negotiations with SUM that is why I have proposed a new Board-level commercial committee to be chaired by one of our independent board directors to oversee the entire process.


What experience do you have that has adequately prepared you to lead an organization of this size (more than 150 employees) and a budget in excess of 100 million dollars? Where specifically would the budget surplus be best spent and how will you measure the success of those investments?


I am the only candidate for President of U.S. Soccer with a track record of more than 30 years of international business expertise and the skillset to deliver the transformational change that USSF needs right now. I have successfully managed and grown businesses, have advised governments around the world, and have served as a director on the board of one of the largest, most successful companies in the world.


With regard to the surplus, as the current Chair of the Finance Committee, I have played a key role in shaping the budget that will be proposed to the Board in February and the forward financial plan for the next four-year cycle.


It is not enough, however, simply to make these initial investments. We need to make sure we can sustain these investments over time. That is why I have called for the Federation to prepare

and present multi-year budgets to the Board. Additionally, we must undertake annual reviews of all major financial commitments to ensure that the money we invest is being spent wisely and

achieving the results we want.


These initial investments are only the beginning. More is needed for the kind of transformational change that U.S. Soccer needs. We need to think bigger and aim higher than ever before. That’s why I believe we must develop a plan to significantly increase our budget over the coming decade so that we can invest more in all players at all levels over the long term, as I’ve described in the strategic initiatives above.


The specific soccer programs will be identified by our technical experts in cooperation with our members and then implemented. Each program will be consistently monitored and evaluated to make sure it is providing value and helping us succeed and meeting our mission. We must not allow our programs to stagnate.


Our success will be measured on the field at every level – from our national teams raising World Cup trophies, to our youngest grassroots fields filled with children becoming better players, to our adult fields filled with players enjoying the game they love to our professional leagues fielding top-flight competition at every level and playing before packed stadiums filled with passionate fans cheering for the preeminent sport in America.


PLAYER AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT


What other Federations have you researched that we can we learn from in terms of creating the best environments possible for the players to develop?

 

Among the candidates, I have a unique vantage point and perspective on other Federations as I am on the CONCACAF Council and FIFA’s Stakeholders Committee. In these roles, I have

observed many other Federations up close and met with the vast majority of the Presidents and Leaders of 211 FIFA national associations and the 6 confederations of FIFA.

 

When we consider learning from other Federations from a sporting perspective, we need to look to our major competitors, namely the traditional soccer powers that regularly compete to win World Cups (e.g., Women’s, Men’s, Youth, Paralympic, Beach, Futsal). To start, these winning federations have sizable budgets that enable them to make significant investments in programs

and players at all levels. For instance, world-class programs like Germany, England, France and Spain already have budgets that are much larger than ours. The President and Board must work

to raise the resources needed for us to compete effectively.


Soccer is more than just a business, however. Successful federations show that soccer operations need to be managed separately from business operations. Put simply, soccer operations should be managed by soccer experts. That is why I have proposed the creation of a new Technical Department—run by new General Managers for our Men’s and Women’s programs and reporting to the CEO of U.S. Soccer—responsible for recruiting, selecting and managing all National Team coaches, curriculum and player development at all levels.


From a governance perspective, we should not limit ourselves to just soccer federations. Rather, we should look to the finest non-profits in the world. The best in class standards are focused on transparency, accountability and inclusion. This starts with exemplary leadership at the top to set the tone of the organization. The role of a non-executive board, as we have with USSF, is to provide oversight of the executive staff. We must get the board more deeply engaged in all critical areas – audit, compliance, legal, finance, commercial and technical activities.


What should US Soccer’s role be in player development? What governance structure(s) would you create to improve player development across all programs?


Player development occurs at all levels of the game, and it begins at the grassroots. As a membership organization, we need to help our members succeed and then build on top of what they have done. For us to succeed at the national level, we must improve at each level of play, from the youngest grassroots ages through the professional levels.

 

As a Federation, our role should be to help provide structure and financial support. We can help develop and oversee the soccer curriculum that is used throughout our organization. We can provide technical expertise to improve the level of play. The new Technical Department that I’m proposing would work together with all of our members to make sure our players have the best training environments possible, more and better scouting and better coordination between national teams and club teams. Facilities also will play a role as will developing a “culture” for our national teams. As I note above, it is time for a new National Training Center to bring our athletes together and elevate our play.

 

In addition, the Federation also needs to focus on growing the number of coaches and retaining coaches. We need to put more resources towards coaching the coaches. We also need additional focus on referee recruitment, training and retention and improving consultation with referees and their leadership before decisions are made.


In addition, the Federation also needs to focus on growing the number of coaches and retaining coaches. We need to put more resources towards coaching the coaches. We also need additional focus on referee recruitment, training and retention and improving consultation with referees and their leadership before decisions are made.

 

What are your plans to lead all of the various youth soccer organizations so player development is the priority?

 

The first step is to work with our members to grow the game at all levels. That means working together to bring more young people into our ranks as registered players and where we focus on Youth Soccer less as a business and more as a way to develop talent on the field and nurture our next generation of young adults.


If elected, I’ll work to invest more resources in Youth Soccer, including scholarships and grants, so that more young people—especially in cities and underserved and diverse communities—can afford to play; increase subsidies for coaches and coach education programs; and increase support for the grassroots volunteers who help identify and develop players at the youngest ages.

 

The player development initiatives were a good first step introducing age appropriate competition and coaching. We need to continue work with our members, players and parents to focus on player development.


What are your specific plans for the Beach Soccer, Futsal, and Paralympic National Teams?

 

Every athlete who wears the crest deserves to be treated with the same respect as every other national team player. This includes our talented players on our extended national teams. That is why developing world-class national teams must include increased support, including additional coaching and support staff, for all our national team athletes—male and female, Youth, Paralympians and Futsal, beach soccer, Power, deaf and amputee athletes—so that they can grow their teams and advance to the World Cup and Olympic tournaments in which they compete. These groups will be integrated into our Technical Department, and I look forward to working with each of them to help identify and meet their specific needs.

 

In addition, we need to recognize that of our extended national team players often are not professional, full-time athletes; they often work full-time and often forgo income in order to compete in the sport they love. This creates financial burdens for them and their families. We need to help find ways to ease these burdens.

 

For decades, due to Title IX and pioneers of the game, the Women’s National Team has had an abundance of success. What are concrete ways that you would look to advance the women’s game in the United States so the success continues for years to come? Also, please address the state of the NWSL.

 

Title IX and our colleges and universities helped give our Women’s program a head-start, but the rest of the world is catching up rapidly. Many of our major competitors—for example, England, Germany, France and Mexico—are making major new investments in their women’s leagues. We must do more to maintain our competitive advantage and ensure the future success of the women’s game in the U.S. We must continue to support the National Women’s Soccer League. The USSF has been the single largest support of the NWSL in its first five years and, if elected, I will work to sustain this critical funding.

 

We will work with the NWSL to grow the number of teams, bring in additional substantial longterm investors as partners and owners, to raise the standards of the league so they mirror the best leagues in the world – women’s or men’s. Supporting the NWSL is a smart, long-term investment in our sport that will pay huge dividends for U.S. Soccer by expanding our player pool and providing more opportunities to more players.

 

Over the long term, we also need to make sure that the NWSL can sustain itself financially. In addition to financial support, we must help the NWSL recruit a top commissioner and other key

employees without whom the league will not survive and grow.


How do you address the problem of soccer being a “pay to play” type of system that we now have? What specific plans do you have to increase participation and make soccer less expensive and more inclusive?

 

It’s heartbreaking that so many young boys and girls are not able to play the sport they love because their families can’t afford the high cost. Unfortunately, the honest truth is that “pay to play” will never go away entirely; it will always cost money to play soccer, pay referees and coaches, rent fields, buy equipment and run tournaments. There are, however, steps we can take to reduce the costs and make soccer more affordable so that more young people can play.


For example, I support using part of the USSF surplus to invest more resources in Youth Soccer, including scholarships and grants, so that more young people—especially in cities and underserved and diverse communities—can afford to play. The USSF could also help local organizations get better at raising the funds they need to grow and defray costs for players.


Other options include: improving the quality of training that players receive locally so that players and families are not required to spend so much money and time traveling to play soccer; and developing tools for players and parents to better evaluate soccer programs based on player development rather than tournament wins. We need to create a means for players and parents to determine the relative value that different programs offer so they can decide which program best meets the specific needs of that player. The most expensive program may not be the best program.


We should also use part of the surplus to address the cost of training, accrediting and licensing coaches. We need to increase subsidies for coaches and coach education programs. More specifically, we might consider a system where—in return for USSF covering the cost of their training—coaches then give a certain amount of time back as coaches.


SUPPORT OF NATIONAL TEAMS

 

During 2017, how many MNT games did you attend?


As an avid soccer fan, I always try to attend games wherever and whenever I can. In fact, I have seen our Men’s and Women’s teams play on every continent…except Antarctica! Over my 10 years of service on the USSF board, I have truly lost count of the many, many games that I have attended or watched!


Over the past decade, I have attended many MNT games, including multiple, thrilling MNT World Cup matches in Germany, South Africa and Brazil and the painful loss in Trinidad.

 

During 2017, how many men's professional league games did you attend?


Over the past decade, I have attended numerous games, including the most recent MLS Cup final

in Toronto.

 

During 2017, how many WNT games did you attend?


Over the years, I have attended many WNT games, perhaps the most memorable of which were

the heartbreaking loss of our women’s team at the World Cup final in Frankfurt in 2011, the thrilling Gold Medal performances in London in 2012, and our dominating World Cup victory over Japan in Vancouver in 2015.

 

During 2017, how many NWSL games did you attend?


Since its inception, I have attended a handful of games, and I hope to attend more as the league

expands.

 

During 2017, how many streaming broadcasts of the Paralympic National Team World Championships in Argentina did you watch?


I was unable to watch the streaming broadcasts of the Paralympic National Team World Championships in Argentina. In June 2015, I was on my way to attend a Paralympic Team game while in England, only to have my train cancelled due to a bomb threat! I plan to catch a game

soon.

 

During 2017, how many streaming broadcasts of the Beach National Team did you watch (CONCACAF Championship or other)?


I had hoped to attend the matches in the Bahamas in February 2017, but was unable to do so. I was traveling on other Federation business.