The Athlete Council holds 20% of the vote in the U.S. Soccer election, may well vote as a bloc and appears to be focusing on a selection of the presidential candidates.
The U.S. Soccer presidential campaign is entering its final days ahead of the Feb. 10 election, and the late maneuverings of the eight candidates—and the voters—will get plenty of scrutiny in the week ahead.
The voting bloc that could swing the election is the Athlete Council, which is made up of 20 current and former national team players and has 20% of the vote. The Athlete Council has often voted as a bloc, increasing its power in the election, and Athlete Council chair Chris Ahrens told SI’s Planet Fútbol TV show this week that he is “optimistic” the council will vote as a bloc.
Multiple sources tell SI.com that the Athlete Council has asked four of the eight candidates to participate in conference calls with the council on Friday. Those four candidates are Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Kyle Martino and Michael Winograd. A source with knowledge of the situation cautioned that this group is not necessarily the top four choices of the Athlete Council, but the source added that Winograd—a New York City lawyer whose profile has been climbing—is seen as intriguing by some members of the Athlete Council.
The source’s caution notwithstanding, the presence of three of the four presumed front-runners and Winograd will be seen as good news for Winograd and sobering news for candidate Eric Wynalda, who will likely need support from at least a portion of the Athlete Council if he is to have a path to victory. Wynalda is expected to have little support from the Pro Council (24.8% of the vote) other than the NASL’s vote. His main support is likely to come from the Adult and Youth Councils (24.8% each), made up mostly of state associations, but other candidates are expected to grab a portion of those votes as well.
To win, a candidate will need to have a majority of the weighted vote. The federation will conduct as many rounds of voting as necessary to get to a majority vote-winner.
The current members of the Athlete Council are: Ahrens (chair); Angela Hucles (vice-chair); Carlos Bocanegra (vice-chair); Shannon Boxx, Brian Ching, Cindy Parlow Cone (advisor); Brad Guzan, Stuart Holden, Lauren Holiday, Lori Lindsey, Will John, Kate Markgraf, John O’Brien, Heather O’Reilly, Leslie Osborne, Nick Perera, Christie Rampone, Gavin Sibayan, Lindsay Tarpley and Aly Wagner.