Cindy Parlow Cone made history at the U.S. Soccer AGM. (Scott Bales/YCJ Photo)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Former U.S. women’s national team player Cindy Parlow Cone became the first women to be elected vice president of U.S. Soccer during the organization’s Annual General Meeting Saturday.

In other news, technology executive Patti Hart was confirmed as an independent director on the board of directors. Three applicants, Asociacion Nacional Futbol en EU, U.S. Youth Futsal and United States Association of Blind Athletes were admitted as new member organizations and the National Independent Soccer Association was provisionally sanctioned as a Division III professional league.

Recently inducted as a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2018, Parlow Cone was the sole candidate to complete the nomination process in order to run for vice president. Parlow Cone’s term will last one year as she assumes the office that was vacated when former VP Carlos Cordeiro was elected as president at the 2018 U.S. Soccer AGM. Once the current term is finished next year, an election for a full, four-year term will be held at the 2020 National Council Meeting.

“I am grateful to be able to continue to serve our great game as U.S. Soccer vice president,” Parlow Cone said. “I believe with my extensive knowledge of, and experience working in, the soccer landscape of our country, from grassroots to the international level, I will help U.S. Soccer continue to build, develop, and grow soccer in the United States at every level.”

Parlow Cone played with the U.S. women’s national team from 1996-2004 and was a title-winning coach at the grassroots, collegiate and professional levels. During the past 20 years, she has served on U.S. Soccer’s Referee Committee, Medical Advisory Committee, Appeals Committee and the Athletes’ Council as well as more recently with U.S. Soccer’s Youth Task Force.

To replace independent director Val Ackerman, whose term expired this week, the National Council confirmed Hart, an experienced CEO and board member with deep expertise in technology and entertainment to the U.S. Soccer board of directors. She also specializes in sales and marketing and brings an understanding of consumer trends and corporate governance. Hart has spent 13 years at International Game Technology, Inc., including six as CEO and the last three as vice chairman of the gaming company with offices on six continents.

“We’re very grateful to Val for her years of service to U.S. Soccer,” Cordeiro said. “We wish her the best as she continues in her role as commissioner of the NCAA’s Big East Conference.

“We’re excited that we were able to bring on such an outstanding individual to serve as independent director,” Cordeiro said about Hart. “Patti comes to us with an incredible business background, tremendous experience, and a track record of success in her professional career. We are delighted to formally welcome her to the U.S. Soccer family.”

The addition of Asociacion Nacional Futbol en EU, U.S. Youth Futsal and United States Association of Blind Athletes as new Members brings the total number of U.S. Soccer member organizations to 110 and will help further U.S. Soccer’s mission to make soccer, in all its forms, a preeminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels.

The National Women’s Soccer League was sanctioned for 2019 Division I professional competition during the board of directors meeting Friday.

In the same meeting, NISA was provisionally sanctioned, adding a second Division III professional league in the United States alongside the United Soccer League’s League One. USL also operates the USL Championship as a Division II professional league, while Major League Soccer operates as a Division I professional league.

Commitment to U.S. Soccer extended national teams

U.S. Soccer has made a tangible commitment in the form of increased resources to its extended national teams. Starting this year, for the first time the organization will have a new department focused exclusively on supporting the beach national team, futsal national team and para 7-a-Side national team. It will include three new technical hires and a dedicated budget of $2 million. This commitment will enable paralympians to play for the team full time.

U.S. Soccer honorees

U.S. Soccer honored two life-long servants of the sport during the AGM.

Richard Groff, a former U.S. Adult Soccer Association president and U.S. Soccer board member, joined the family of U.S. Soccer Life Members. That is an honor presented to individuals in recognition of long-time service and distinguished contributions to soccer in the United States.

Groff previously was bestowed with the prestigious Werner Fricker Builder Award in 2014, receiving the U.S. Soccer Federation’s highest individual honor for tirelessly furthering the interest of the sport of soccer without regard to personal recognition or advancement.

Joining Groff on the distinguished list of Werner Fricker winners is former U.S. women’s national team player, head coach, and Youth Technical Director, April Heinrichs, who was honored at an awards dinner following the National Council Meeting. Heinrichs a world champion as a player, coach and administrator, who captained the USA to the first Women’s World Cup title in 1991 and then embarked on a long career in support of the women’s game, is the second woman to win with the Werner Fricker Builder Award following her former USWNT teammate Mary Harvey, who received the award in 2017. Heinrichs is the fourth consecutive Fricker winner whose career focused on building the sport for women and girls in the United States.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at