Editorial — Carlos Cordeiro’s time as president of U.S. Soccer is over. After plenty of backlash last week for insensitive language in regard to the U.S. women’s national team’s equal pay lawsuit, Cordeiro stepped down. The urge came from many current and former U.S. Soccer players. Media outlets also called for Cordeiro to step down.
Now in charge? Cindy Parlow Cone.
You might be asking, who? Parlow Cone was a member of the USWNT from 1995 until 2006. She featured for the Atlanta Beat for a time before ending her professional career. Parlow Cone was also an assistant coach for the University of North Carolina. After coaching collegiately, she became the first-ever head coach of the Portland Thorns.
She left the Thorns after the club’s first season in the National Women’s Soccer League. Now, she’s in charge of U.S. Soccer at an extremely crucial time.
How did this come about?
In an official court filing, Cordeiro and U.S. Soccer mentioned that the U.S. men’s national team job “carries more responsibility within U.S. Soccer than the job of [a] WNT player. The document also noted that MNT players “require a higher level fo skill based on speed and strength.”
The response came moments before the USWNT took on Japan in the SheBelieves Cup. Cordeiro announced on Twitter that he would step down on March 12.
It has been an incredible privilege to serve as the President of U.S. Soccer.
My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our Federation.
After discussions with the Board of Directors, I have decided to step down, effective immediately. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/4B7siuIqcL
— Carlos Cordeiro (@CACSoccer) March 13, 2020
Meanwhile, in U.S. Soccer’s announcement, Parlow Cone thanked Cordeiro. “He is a good man with a good heart and his significant work to help bring the 2026 World Cup to the United States will have a positive impact for generations,” she said. “The passion that has come to the surface in the past two days is what inspires me to look forward, to work hard towards mending relationships and moving the game forward for all.”
Will U.S. Soccer back Parlow Cone?
Parlow Cone did not comment on the language used by the federation against the women’s national team players. However, there was public outcry from players — on the MNT and WNT — and former professionals alike. Don Garber, the commissioner of MLS, spoke out against the federation’s statements.
Also speaking out? The federation’s sponsors. The Coca-Cola Co., Anheuser Busch Cos. Inc., The Procter & Gamble Co. and Volkswagen Group were corporations that released statements against the federation’s statements.
Plenty of Parlow Cone’s former teammates spoke out to support her on social media.
“I have known Cindy Parlow Cone for over two decades as both a teammate and friend. She has always led with integrity and a commitment to others. I have no doubt that she will dedicate herself to making our game better for all,” Mia Hamm wrote.
Meanwhile, Julie Foudy made note that Parlow Cone is the acting president. She will hold the spot until the next Annual General Meeting, which will be held in 2021. Parlow Cone is officially the first female president of U.S. Soccer in 107 years.
“I played with Cindy for many years. I know Cindy. She understands ALL the players are going through having lived it. And she is one hell of a human. Give her a chance to succeed. Please,” Foudy wrote.
What’s the next step for Parlow Cone?
Right now, the federation is dealing with the outcome of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Matches for the men’s and women’s teams have been cancelled in March and April.
Also, MLS has suspended play for a minimum of 30 days, while the NWSL has suspended preseason matches and training. There is no word if the NWSL will push back the opening weekend of April 18-19 matches.
Parlow Cone and U.S. Soccer will be heading to court with the USWNT unless an agreement is made during mediation. Right now, a court date has been slated for a time in May. The Olympics, should they still go on, begin on July 24, a mere two months later. Parlow Cone is a former USWNT member and has seen inequality firsthand. However, equal pay is not solely her decision.
However, unless she wants to escape the same fate that Cordeiro produced, she must figure out a way to back the USWNT while not betray U.S. Soccer. Parlow Cone is in a tough situation. Right now, the microscope is on her and on everything that she says. Parlow Cone is now the face of U.S. Soccer, and essentially the spokesperson for USSF.
Now, more than ever, is the time for USSF and the USWNT to come to a fair and equal agreement.