The United States men’s soccer team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. That, coupled with additional factors, have led to the longtime president of U.S. Soccer, Sunil Gulati, deciding not to run for an additional term as the leader of the federation. He announced the news on Monday.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and talking about it with people in many different positions — many of whom told me I should run,” Gulati said. “But in the end, I think the best thing for me personally, and for the federation, is to see someone new in the job.”
The men’s team will miss out on the World Cup for the first time since 1986, having failed to win enough games in the qualifying stage.
Gulati had a 12-year run with the U.S., but following the uproar following the failure to qualify, tension around the program began to mount. Head coach Bruce Arena stepped down following the loss, leaving the team currently without a man in charge.
“Look, the general perception in the soccer community versus the people who vote in elections may be different right now,” Gulati said.
“But the loss to Trinidad was painful, regrettable and led to a lot of strong emotions. And to be honest, I think at this point, that’s overshadowed a lot of other things that are important. So fair or not, I accept that and think it’s time for a new person.”
Even without Gulati at the head, the U.S. will still seek to obtain the rights to host the 2026 World Cup.