Cindy Parlow will run for U.S. Soccer president in February. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer)
Amid controversy came an historical moment.
When Carlos Cordeiro announced his resignation as U.S. Soccer president March 13, vice president Cindy Parlow became the first woman president of the federation.
Cordeiro resigned in wake of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s recent court filing about the U.S. women’s national team’s lawsuit against the organization and his subsequent apology.
Parlow will serve as president of U.S. Soccer until the Annual General Meeting in February. Parlow, 41, also became second former U.S. national team player to hold the position.
There will be an election for U.S. Soccer president for a one-year term to see out Cordeiro’s original tenure. In 2022, the regular election for U.S. president will be held for the next four-year term.
In papers filed in March, the federation argued that playing for the men’s national team carries more responsibility and requires a higher level of skill than that demanded of women players.
The federation was responding to the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the USWNT against the federation in March 2019. The suit demanded $66 million in back pay under the Equal Pay act and the Civil Rights Act.
“It has been an incredible privilege to serve our federation for the past 13 years as a volunteer,” Cordeiro said in a statement.
“My one and only mission has always been to do what is best for our federation and it has become clear to me that what is best right now is a new direction. The arguments and language contained in this week’s legal filing caused great offense and pain, especially to our extraordinary women’s national team players who deserve better. It was unacceptable and inexcusable. I did not have the opportunity to fully review the filing in its entirely before it was submitted, and I take responsibility for not doing so. Had I done so, I would have objected to language that did not reflect my personal admiration for our women’s players or our values as an organization.”
Cordeiro’s resignation came after sponsor protests and after the U.S. women wore their jerseys inside-out to protest the remarks in the court filing.
“I want to thank Carlos for his many years of hard work and dedication on behalf of U.S. Soccer,” Parlow said at the time. “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. 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.”
Parlow, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, played for the USWNT from 1996-2004 and was a member of the 1999 Women’s World Cup championship team. She also won two Olympic gold medals (1996, 2004) in a career that spanned 158 caps and saw her score 75 international goals (eighth all-time in U.S. history). Werner Fricker, who was U.S. Soccer president from 1984-1990, played for the U.S. men’s national team between 1963-1967.
On Dec. 1, the USSF announced it had reached an agreement with the USWNT to resolve the non-compensation related claims raised in current litigation between its players and the federation. Earlier that day, the parties filed in court a proposed settlement by which U.S. Soccer has agreed to implement various policies regarding working conditions for the USWNT team related to hotel accommodations, staffing, venues and travel, according to a USSF press release.
“This is an important and welcomed moment for U.S. Soccer and the women’s national team players,” Parlow said in a statement. “Earlier this year, I stepped into the role as president, and shortly after we hired Will Wilson as our new CEO. We, and the rest of the leadership team at U.S. Soccer, are focused on taking a new approach at the Federation in handling all matters.
“I believe our approach helped us reach this agreement and demonstrates the commitment of U.S. Soccer’s new leadership to find a new way forward with the USWNT. This settlement is good news for everyone and I believe will serve as a springboard for continued progress. With the filing, the USWNT is likely to proceed with an appeal of the court’s ruling on May 1, 2020. We hope today’s positive step forward will result in the USWNT accepting our standing offer to discuss contract options.”
Tomorrow: Story No. 1