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New York Cosmos chairman Rocco B. Commisso joined the chorus of voices calling for drastic changes at the United States Soccer Federation after the men’s national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
In a statement on the Cosmos’ official site, Commisso wrote that failure speaks to larger structural issues from within the USSF and that the federation requires a change at the top:
“The blame must be placed squarely at the feet of U.S. Soccer’s management, led by Sunil Gulati. The first step in ensuring that American soccer consistently performs at a level that spares all of us the kind of negative emotions generated by our National Team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup is for Mr. Gulati to resign. It is his only honorable path forward. The USSF Board members and senior management personnel appointed or nominated by Mr. Gulati should follow him out the door.”
Gulati avoided making any sweeping decisions in the immediate aftermath of the United States’ 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago.
“You don’t make wholesale changes on a ball being two inches wide or two inches in,” he said, per ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. “…We’ll look at everything.”
Plenty on social media echoed Commisso’s call for Gulati to be gone:
Jonathan Tannenwald @thegoalkeeper
Time for Sunil Gulati to go. You don’t get to survive this when you’ve hired the people who ran this qualifying cycle.
Joe Prince-Wright @JPW_NBCSports
#USMNT’s failure means Sunil Gulati should be out as US Soccer president. Huge change needed from top to bottom. Warnings signs not heeded
The United States men’s and women’s national teams have enjoyed varying degrees of success since Gulati won the USSF presidential election in 2006. The USWNT won the 2015 Women’s World Cup and earned gold at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. The USMNT reached the knockout stages of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups as well.
At the same time, Tuesday’s loss was the culmination of multiple failures from the men’s national team at all levels. Signing Jurgen Klinsmann to a four-year extension in 2013 was a big mistake, and under Gulati’s watch, the United States’ under-23 team missed the last two Olympics.
Gulati will look to receive another term in February at U.S. Soccer’s next elections. Whether Gulati is re-elected—or if he resigns before then—will give a big indication as to the future of the U.S. national team in the wake of Tuesday’s loss.