Sunil Gulati's (Fictional) Address to U.S. Soccer

President of U. S. Soccer Sunil Gulati addresses the crowd during the induction ceremony for the National Soccer Hall of Fame at Wright Soccer Campus in Oneonta, NY, on August 2, 2009. Photo via Newscom

A week after the US loss of the 2022 World Cup, much ink and internet type has been spilled on whether the U.S. deserved the bid or was robbed, whether we American soccer fans have a false sense of entitlement or a shady process overwhelmed everything, and even whether U.S. soccer is ok without the Cup or seriously set back.  Now is the perfect time for Sunil Gulati to come forward and address the issue, and lay the groundwork for the future of U.S. soccer.

Why now?  The federation needs to be dragged out of its grief cycle and begin to focus on the future.  Gulati needs to reassert his leadership and, most importantly, show FIFA and the world that U.S. soccer is a mature organization dedicated to working toward the future together with FIFA.  So if I were in the USSF press office, I would have my organization president hold a press conference, and at this press conference have him deliver the following speech:

Thank you everyone for assembling here today.  I would like to discuss in a formal way the 2022 World Cup bidding process and the subsequent awarding of the World Cup to Qatar.  I have spoken to many of you on the record in a variety of formats, but I felt it was important to not only make a formal statement before everyone, but to address the future of U.S. soccer.

First, I would like to congratulate Qatar on winning the World Cup bid.  After viewing their presentation and their grand ideas for the event, I feel that a worthy location has been chosen.  Their progressive and forward-thinking ideas for building state-of-the-art stadiums that can then be donated to less fortunate countries were excellent and the kind of innovation that sometimes we think only America is capable of doing.  The nation, which will host the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, deserves to host the world in 2022.

In a larger sense, I would like to commend FIFA for having the foresight to place the World Cup in the Middle East.  Civilization began on the bank of the Mesopotamia, and the fact that the region has never hosted a World Cup is unfortunate, a wrong that we will right in twelve years.  I do not want to delve into politics, which has little place in soccer, but too often Western contribution to the region has been warfare and weaponry.  This time, we will bring peace and unity, the kind I know the region will welcome.

I’d be remiss if I did not mention the rumors of corruption in the bid process and its impact on the Qatari selection.  Having seen no evidence of collusion or foul play with the selection, I wholeheartedly reject any notion that the selection was compromised.  To assume based on innuendo would be a disservice to our Qatari friends.  FIFA took action on the delegates that were accused of wrong doing, and without concrete evidence of other wrong doing I refuse to give credence to any other rumors.

That said, the FIFA selection process for too long has been cloaked in unnecessary secrecy and confusion, the kind that allows these type of rumors to exist.  I offer USSF and CONCACAF’s assistance to Mr. Blatter and the FIFA Executive Committee in reforming the selection process for two reasons.  First, at the end of the bid process, we all want there to be no doubt that the World Cup was fairly awarded.  Secondly, there is too much money wasted in the bid process.  England spent £15 million on their bid, money the country could have used elsewhere, only to garner two votes.  FIFA should be upfront as to the criteria and selection thought process to allow countries to spend their money wisely and economically in selling their country as a possible site.

Now, as for the future of U.S. soccer, we will place a bid for the 2026 World Cup, assuming FIFA rules make us eligible.  Instead of our past emphasis on being “soccer ready” and how much money an American World Cup will make (and it will make money), our slogan will be “one world, one nation.”  Our bid will emphasize the fact that Americans come from all over the globe and root for many different national teams, and our borders contain a microcosm of the world.  What better way to celebrate the world’s game than by holding it in a place where the world is represented, and can easily visit.  In fact, the U.S. is willing to make the 2026 World Cup more international by holding one match in the group stage in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean each (3 total matches outside the US), to allow our neighbors to benefit from the World Cup while still leaving the logistics and cost to us.

Finally, I will address the U.S. men’s national team.  There had been discussion that a U.S. World Cup in 2022 would allow the USSF to have an “end date” for the American soccer building project.  This discussion is a valid one, and I am announcing here today that USSF still has 2022 as the end date for a new building project: The American World Cup Project.  Our goal is to have the U.S. be a serious contender for the 2022 World Cup, even though it will not be held in America.  Instead, we plan to make the Qatar World Cup ours in everything but location.  We will build the USSF infrastructure as if we were hosting the event (which means new training grounds for many clubs) and make every decision with 2022 in mind.  This does not mean we will not compete in 2014 and 2018, but we realize the fallacy of the old 2010 project and pledge to put everything into a competitive 2022 team (and beyond).  Will it be easy? No, but the last year has taught us America can be a soccer power if we set our minds to it, and I pledge to do that today.

Thank you, and I will now take questions.

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48 Responses to Sunil Gulati's (Fictional) Address to U.S. Soccer

  1. Charles says:

    I like your speech.

    Not really sure what the fallacy of the 2010 project was except that the US couldn’t get it done in that timeframe.

    By contender to win you are saying making the final four would qualify I would guess? Not really that far away, IMHO.

    And what I mean by that is, not like anyone is going to favor the US going into the tourney like they do Brazil, when they finished a few rounds away.
    So now you are left with doing well like SKorea or Uruguay did without being a favorite. The second scenerio will always be poo-hooed like people did when I pointed out they came close to doing very well in 2002 and were not that far away in 2010.

    So doesn’t it becomes a win or fail ? Pretty tough to win, ask the Netherlands.

  2. Roger says:

    first question.

    When will we have real soccer clubs instead of franchises on our first div?

    2nd question.

    When will you disolve single entity? Since it was done without ANY consideration of the fans.

    • Charles says:

      Two questions:

      Isn’t that one question ?
      Isn’t the second questions just a rephrasing of the first ? 😉

      Either way I have an answer, never. Not because Single Entity is the only way, or even the best way ( like I think ), but if MLS fails, US will NEVER have soccer at a big level. NEVER.
      The only guys to step up and support soccer lose hundreds of millions of dollars, you can kiss major investments in soccer in the US bye-bye…..FOR EVA.

      Live with it Roger and get a new cause.

      ps. You do realize the ONLY reason ALeague/USL/NASL is Div 2 is because it was unsuccessful, right ? Guys like Oki ( owner of the Sounders ) didn’t like the single entity, hated it, wouldn’t join because of it, put their billions to work in that league.

      You also realize not one of you has addressed why MLS kicked that leagues butt ? Here comes the convoluted answer about it was never really first div. even though it was.

      • Dave C says:

        One question – will there EVER be an MLS Talk article that isn’t used as an excuse by “the usual suspects” to launch into a debate about promotion/relegation, single entity etc. It’s so boring.

        • Joe says:

          Bored by the comment board? Are you POSITIVE?

          • Dave C says:

            As I mention below, when I criticize something I like to think it’s with good reason, and with some rationale (and I also praise good stuff when deserved, and offer my opinion in all kinds of matters in ways that are neither praise nor criticisim).

            In this case, I’m sure I can’t be the only one who finds it slightly silly that every MLS Talk post takes the exact same format – whatever the article is about, Soccerreform and Roger will find a way to blame it on the single entity structure and lack of promotion/relegation. Charles will find a way to say the European leagues are boring, MLS is the best thing ever and that Landon Donovan is his boyfriend. And Sergio Lima will chip in to say something about kids in Brazil.

          • Joe says:

            I think Sergio got a job in Qatar after posting his email address on the comment board and being signed up for a Qatari jobs email alert.

            Just a hunch…

          • Dave C says:

            I think Sergio got a job in Qatar after posting his email address on the comment board and being signed up for a Qatari jobs email alert

            Ha, that sounds like one of those internet scams. Are you sure it wasn’t a Qatari prince offering him untold riches that were being held in the account of a deceased uncle at the Nigerian embassy, and all he had to do was submit his bank details to help him out?

  3. Bolacuadrada says:

    Why do you congratulate Qatar for winning the world cup bid when you know they bribed Grondona, Blatter, etc. to get it. Are you really that ignorant Mr. Whatever? If you are that naive you should go and work for FIFA. Oops, I forgot you are already working for FIFA (International Federation of Fraud Agents).

    • MMM AAA says:

      Oh dear god, here we go again ..
      You shouldn’t expect to host any int’l tournament in the world if that’s how you think. Can you prove that Qatar bribed Fifa?
      Until you prove it, then, we can talk..

      Qatar deserved it; have you seen their ideas and presentations? they were worth all the other bids, combined. Just look at their expansion and innovation plans. Beyond imagination.

      And by the way, great article Robert, I hope the US gets it soon. 2026, that is!

      • The Gaffer says:

        Mmm, a whistleblower accused two FIFA executives of accepting deals worth $1.5m for their votes. Source:

        The Gaffer

        • Joe says:

          Ah the New York Post. The same newspaper that wrote “This Sport is Stupid Anyway” after the US lost in the World Cup. The same newspaper that’s looked at by pretty much all of us New Yorkers as a filthy rag.

          But hey, maybe there’s something here. A real journalist should probably try to find said bribe money.

          • Daniel Feuerstein says:

            I know the soccer reporter from the NY Post. Brian Lewis does a great job.

          • Joe says:

            OK. Well I hope he follows up on this then and tries to:
            1) Get the whistle blower to identify him/herself or
            2) Find the bribe money or
            3) Find more people willing to come forward

          • Dave C says:

            Do you ever cease to be negative? I swear I see your posts all over MLS Talk, EPL Talk and even the other league-talks. Sometimes your negativity is warranted (like a wrong clock being right twice a day), but most of the time you just sound like a grinch.

            Ps I agree the NY Post is garbage, but it’s sad that their use of irony sailed completely over your head. And it’s certainly not the only news source that has been exposing the cash-for-votes thing with FIFA.

          • The Gaffer says:

            The New York Post was not the original publisher of the article. I believe The Times of London was the original source.

            The Gaffer

      • Bolacuadrada says:

        That will be the day Man. Come on! That will be the day when bank robbers take video cameras to the bank, record what they do, and turn the evidence to the police. We cannot expect to have FIFA officials tell us how their money changes hands. There is a reason they have their offices in Switzerland. There is a reason why they do not want government involvement and sanction any federation that gets the government involved. There is a reason why they do not want video technology in the game so they can manipulate referees. In order for us to know the truth we have to pay one of those guys millions more than what they received from Qatar officials. They are for $ale but they are not ¢heap, that is for sure.

        • Joe says:

          Yes, those FIFA guys sure are great at being criminals. So let’s keep ranting and raving about how unfair they are on blogs. That’ll show ’em!!

        • Joe says:

          I actually really liked that NY Post headline. I simply use it to point out that the Post is probably not the best source to turn to for soccer-related news. But hey, if they write an article with actual evidence regarding FIFA corruption, I’ll read it.
          I’m sorry you find my commentary so negative. In order to fix this situation, I will now comment in the manner that you must consider “positive”:


          • Dave C says:

            Well there was enough evidence for even FIFA to suspend two of its own members. And the Post is just one of many sources to have talked about this issue.

            And by the way, I think you’re confusing “positive” with “stupid”.

      • joejoe says:

        Qatar did not deserved anything. Some country makes a few fancy presentations and offers obscene amounts of money to make them come true. What’s that going to prove? If they spent half of what they want to spend for this event on things that the people of the middle east need, like food, medicine, education, promote freedom, and equal rights, then many more people would be in favor. But what they just sold and FIFA bought is a fantasy. Like a mirage. It’s not real. The only thing people will remember is how stupid it was to blow so much money on a simple game.

    • Daniel Feuerstein says:

      It’s just an example of what Gulati should do when he or if he ever does address the media about the situation of the bribes and being gracious losing to Qatar. He never said this, it’s just an example from Robert Hey

  4. AB says:

    It’s very likely a speech that Gulati would give. The reason is would give this speech is because it’s nothing but politically-correct nonsense meant to allow for pleasant conversations with fellow FIFA schlubs at the next graft distribution cocktail party. That, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the good of soccer in the United States. Well done if what you were REALLY trying to produce was biting satire.

  5. Dave C says:

    Sorry to be critical, but I thought this article was very dumb. Firstly, the whole idea of imagining what Gulati might or should say in a hypothetical situation (especially at such length) strikes me as pointless. It’s like writing a 500 word monologue on “what Mickey Mouse might say if he rode a unicorn to Atlantis, and came home to find Minnie sleeping with Flash Gordon.” I mean it’s some vivid imagination, but it’s essentially pointless.

    Secondly, it’s not even believable that anyone would say half of this stuff. Do you really think someone in any kind of high-profile position would publicly say something as contradictory, simplistic and ill-informed as “I do not want to delve into politics…but too often Western contribution to the region has been warfare and weaponry .

    Likewise, I very much doubt he would basically say that “although we don’t see any evidence of widespread corruption (despite 2 out of 24 exco members being suspended, and persistent allegations shadowing various other members)…we still think we should overhaul the bidding process” (without actually mentioning how it should be reformed). And it would come across as very arrogant to offer “the USSF and CONCACAF’s assistance” to help FIFA reform the system. Like ooh the whole world needs America’s help to organize something. And of course it’s not like CONCACAF isn’t part of the problem in the first place (cough cough Jack Warner cough cough).

    And isn’t that whole thing about “one world, one nation” pretty much exactly what the US’s failed bid relied on already anyway?

    • Joe says:

      Thanks Dave for this lovely positive comment about the article. Keep up the positivity! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Dave C says:

        I criticize this article, but I think I offer some explanation of why I think it’s weak. I also praise good articles when I see them (albeit rarely on this site, but somewhat more frequently on EPL Talk), and I like to think I contribute something more in my posts than just complaining about everything.

        Also, you seem to be critical about everyone “whining on the internet” about FIFA’s alledged corruption…does this mean you think they’re wrong to believe that there is corruption in FIFA, or do you just think that the corruption exists but that people should be doing something more substantial about it than whining on the internet?

        • Joe says:

          I think that short of any hard evidence of wrongdoing beyond the UK press’ sting operation (in which those two members were dismissed), there’s really nothing to talk about. Maybe all of FIFA is corrupt, maybe it isn’t. How about we let people who are qualified to investigate this stuff do their job while we talk about and watch some sports?

          It just seems silly to me when people take a diversion like sports so seriously that they need to rant and rave against “the machine” instead of just enjoying the game for what it is. That’s all.

          • Daniel Feuerstein says:

            So you enjoy FIFA being corupt then.

          • Joe says:

            I enjoy proper spelling and questions that end in question marks even more.

          • Dave C says:

            I enjoy proper spelling and questions that end in question marks even more.

            Don’t mock DF’s spelling and grammar – it’s a sensitive spot for him and something else I should probably have mentioned in the caricature of a typical MLS Talk post that I described above. There is inevitably always one grammar-cop who says “Daniel you really should spell-check your articles before posting,” and he always replies “I AM SICK OF HAVING THIS ARGUMENT. I ALLWAYS SPELCHECK EVERYTHING BEFORE I IS POSTED ARTRTICLE.”

    • Dave C says:

      Also, I chuckled at this little flight of fantasy:
      “Civilization began on the bank of the Mesopotamia, and the fact that the region has never hosted a World Cup is unfortunate, a wrong that we will right in twelve years.”

      If Gulati was going to use the logic of using the WC to reward historical events, then maybe we could speculate that he would also say:

      “I think it’s only fair that Scotland should host the World Cup, in recognition of their great contribution towards the development of industrialization”

      “I think it’s only fair that Kenya hosts the World Cup, since mankind’s closest ancestors evolved there.”

      “It’s been nearly three years since Moses led his people across the red sea…the only fitting recognition of this would be to award the World Cup to a joint bid by Israel and Egypt.”

      Wow, completely fantastic speculation about what people we don’t know might say in a hypothetical situation can be fun!

      • Daniel Feuerstein says:

        To joe: At least I do take the time to get the spelling right more than once. I go thru three different spell checks to make sure it’s done the right way, but no matter what there will always be asses assuming they are right.

        But one thing is for sure Joe, you like a corrupt FIFA to ruin who should properly host a World Cup.

  6. Joe says:

    So. Who’s pumped for TP Mazembe vs. Pachuca in half an hour?!

  7. Roger says:

    Mazembe 1, Toluca at half time…watching jere…lol

    @dave C

    Yes you are right I allways point at single entity…because I think it is at the rooth of our problems ,and it is in complete oposition to our game spirit.

    When we get rid of single entity,and the people that IMPOSED it, we will start having real progress.

  8. Charles says:

    Thanks Roger for renewing my faith in the group.

    Torres out, Gomez in.
    Rooting for Pachuca. Hoping they will be rooting for the Sounders next year.

  9. Charles says:

    For those that care about MLS on MLSTalk:

    Toronto announced they sold out their season tickets. That is a big deal you would hate to see the great fans there fade…there had to be some nervousness.

    Sounders Owner/GM said the season tickets on pace for about what they were last year. Still to be determined is if the Hawks Nest will be opened up for an additional 2,200 seats. Could be GA tickets. Sounders attendance should go up, as he also said they are working with MLS to open up more seats when Portland and Vancouver come lose at QWest.

    Last I heard the Whitecaps had 15k and Portland had 9K season tickets sold. That was a month ago or so.

  10. Bolacuadrada says:

    Great news from Toronto. I hope the Sounders open more seats at their Stadium. As it is they are a top four in attendance in the Americas. According to my numbers only River Plate (Arg), America (Mex) and a team from Monterrey (Mex) have better home attendance this year. I am a LA Galafy fan but I admire how Sounders fans support their team. With Ronaldinho in LA the attendance numbers will only get better.

  11. Joe says:

    I present this article from EPL Talk as an example of what MLS Talk could and should be:

    Notice the points being supported by evidence (helpful charts)? Notice the discussion about the sport itself as it is played on the field?!

    I don’t have the keen eye for the game yet to write articles like that. Someone here who does needs to save this site from the doldrums of FIFA/pro-rel/tv ratings/new uniforms gabbing. PLEASE!

    • Charles says:

      DITTO Joe’s comments. Let me start it out.

      Akron was awesome beating Michigan and the Louisville winning in the last minute was beyond dramatic.

      OK, I stink at it.

      Someone needs to have a draft discussion, if your favorite team can’t find someone to help them in this years draft, you better be prepared for a long disasterous life as a fan.

      The talent on the field for the College Cup was incredible.
      Really, really good players coming into MLS next year.
      Akron looked like they could field a team next year in MLS.

      IF Akron wins, I think a lot of their players go Gen Ad and are starting and seeing playing time on MLS teams next year.

      • Joe says:

        Unfortunately I know absolutely nothing about NCAA soccer.

        I’m a Red Bulls fan and was very disappointed with the way they completely screwed the pooch in the playoffs. I liked the Henry signing initially, but after some so-so goal production and some dubious injuries I’m starting to think he came here for a paycheck and not much else. I dunno, maybe next year with a full off-season of rest we’ll see the devastating striker they paid for. As of today, I consider Henry a disappointment.

  12. Dave says:

    We need to get rid of this guy he sucks and he is fake put a real football person in his position.

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