Kathy Carter has joined a crowded field for U.S. Soccer Federation president. (Photo courtesy of Global Strategy Group)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

A crowded field got even more jammed Tuesday as Kathy Carter announced Tuesday her candidacy for United States Soccer Federation president.

Carter, who will take a leave of absence from her role as Soccer United Marketing president effective immediately, became the eighth candidate for the unpaid position.

Her candidacy did not come as a surprise as Carter told ESPNFC over the weekend that she was 95 percent she would throw her hat into the ring.

Carter is the only woman in the field. Candidates must secure at least three nominations by the Tuesday, Dec. 12 deadline. Carter told Andrew Das of The New York Times, which broke the story in the newspaper’s Tuesday editions that she did not have the three nominations. “I’m starting to do that,” she was quoted by The Times.

The USSF elections will be held at the organization’s Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Feb. 10.

The seven other candidates are U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Boston attorney Steve Gans, New York lawyer Michael Winograd, United Premier Soccer League Northeast Conference manager Paul Lapointe and former U.S. internationals Eric Wynalda, Paul Caligiuri and Kyle Martino.

“The United States Soccer Federation needs new leadership that understands both business operations and the game,” Carter said in a letter that was sent to journalists. “Our growth and advancement as a sport require excellence at every level — from our youth and adult programs to our professional leagues to our national teams.

She added: “Soccer can and should become the leading sport in America, and I intend to make that vision a reality.”

Carter’s announcement came hours after current U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said that he would not seek a third term. Given her background, some critics might see Carter as a continuation of Gulati’s policies and the status quo because of SUM’s ties. SUM is the marketing arm of Major League Soccer. The company also controls the marketing rights for USSF and the Mexico national team.

Carter’s task will be to persuade enough voters across the adult, youth, pro and athletes councils. The adult, youth and pro councils have 25 percent of the vote apiece, with the athletes next at 20 percent. The rest of the voting strength comes from board members, life members and a fan representative.

In her letter, Carter stressed that she would not be the CEO, but rather the USSF chairperson.

“I will empower Dan Flynn and the staff of the federation to do the job they have been hired to do,” she said. “I will not be the CEO. My focus will be as the chairperson of the board, and I will work with the elected and independent board members to govern the sport collectively and transparently.”

Flynn is the secretary general/CEO of U.S. Soccer.

Carter touted her experience in the game and in the boardroom.

“My 25 years of professional experience give me relationships and perspective from the corporate, media, and soccer industry, and I look forward to expanding this knowledge as I engage the many stakeholders that drive this game at the grassroots,” she said. “I am committed to embracing fresh perspectives on how to advance the game, and I will work tirelessly to deliver results for the federation’s members, players, and fans.”