Eric Wynalda (above) “is a soccer visionary who knows how to lead by inclusion and empowerment,” says NASL interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
The North American Soccer League announced Wednesday that it will support Eric Wynalda’s candidacy for U.S. Soccer Federation president.
Wynalda is one of eight candidates for the position to succeed Sunil Gulati, who has decided not to run for a fourth term. The election will be held in Orlando, Fla. Feb 10.
“I am proud to announce that the NASL and its member clubs unanimously support Eric Wynalda to become the next president of the United States Soccer Federation,” NASL interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal said in a statement. “Eric is a soccer visionary who knows how to lead by inclusion and empowerment. He was a pioneer when he became one of the first American players to achieve success as a professional player abroad and that experience left him unafraid to challenge the status quo.
“Eric is best equipped to deliver an increase in opportunity for all stakeholders and end the conflicts of interest that limit the sport’s growth. There are foundational issues plaguing the sport in our country and Eric’s extensive background , including being a member of the Hall of Fame, uniquely positions him well to lead the development of soccer and not just the business of soccer.”
After a playing career that included the U.S. national team, the Bundesliga, Liga MX, Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League, Wynalda served as a coach and technical director for the Atlanta Silverbacks during their tenure in the NASL.
The NASL votes as part of the Professional Council of the USSF.
The league has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the federation.
The seven other candidates include three other former U.S. internationals — Paul Caligiuri, Kyle Martino and Hope Solo, U.S. Soccer vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter, Boston attorney Steven Gans and New York lawyer Michael Winograd.
Last week the National Premier Soccer League threw its support toward Wynalda.