NEW YORK (AP) — Former U.S. national team forward Paul Caligiuri and midfielder Kyle Martino are the latest new candidates for U.S. Soccer Federation president in the wake of the Americans’ failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
Caligiuri, 53, scored in the 1-0 win at Trinidad and Tobago in 1989 that put the U.S. in the World Cup for the first time since 1950. He started every U.S. match at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, and scored five times in 110 international appearances.
After retiring as a player, he has coached Cal Poly-Pomona men’s team (2002-08), its women’s team (2002-2005) and Orange County FC of the National Premier Soccer League (starting in 2017). He also has served on the USSF’s board of directors.
Caligiuri said that in addition to success by the women’s team, the U.S. should set a goal of winning its first men’s World Cup.
“I believe that’s what Americans want,” he said Monday. “They want a leader who sets forth a path of winning to make Americans proud.”
The 36-year-old Martino had one goal in eight international appearances, playing for Columbus (2002-06) and the LA Galaxy (2006-07). He is among the studio analysts on NBC’s coverage of England’s Premier League.
“U.S. Soccer is at the lowest point of its modern existence, with failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup merely a symptom of bigger issues,” Martino said in a statement. “We need a change, not just of direction but of vision and ambition.”
Martino cited “mistreatment of our female athletes” and “financial barriers at the youth level.”
He launched a GoFundMe page on Monday.
“When a nation of more than 300 million fails to qualify for the World Cup, it’s not because of a few bad bounces on a less-than-perfect pitch; it’s because of systemic failures across all levels of the game,” he said.
USSF president Sunil Gulati has not announced whether he will seek a fourth four-year term at the election in February. Announced candidates include USSF vice president Carlos Cordeiro; former U.S. forward Eric Wynalda, who has taken a leave from Fox Sports; Boston lawyer Steve Gans; and Paul LaPointe, Northeast Conference manager of the United Premier Soccer League. Retired U.S. forward Landon Donovan is said to be considering a run.