Four years ago I noted on SM that Sunil Gulati was appointed the head of U.S. Soccer. Right now the U.S. Soccer team is performing near its best in the modern era. 80% of the credit has to be given to the improvement in play by the U.S. team and to coach Bob Bradley. But lets also give some credit to Gulati. France and Italy have demonstrated that having some of the most skilled players in the world means jack if your organization is dysfunctional and poorly managed.
He grew up playing football in Nebraska. Gulati, who served as USSF vice president for six years, was elected as its president in March 2006.
“Across the past decade, a platform for this sport has been built that did not previously exist, and we now have an opportunity in the coming years to achieve more for soccer in the United States than anyone could have ever envisioned 15 or 10 or even five years ago,” Gulati had said after being elected at the USSF President.
Former USSF president and Major League Soccer founder Alan Rothenberg has called Gulati the “single most important person in the development of soccer” in the country. It is he who appointed the current US soccer coach Bob Bradley.
In February this year, he was unanimously re-elected the USSF president. [ToI]
p>As Gulati said after the Algeria victory, “A new benchmark has been set.”
p>I guess not everyone appreciates him though. A blogger at Deadspin had this recent eyewitness account from South Africa:
PRETORIA, South Africa — A few hours before the gut-roiling USA victory here, I witnessed a tense moment of another sort when two well-lubricated American yahoos tore into Sunil Gulati, the head of the U.S. Soccer Federation. Here’s how it unfolded …
Sometime after noon, I made my way to Hombaze, the pre-game boozing site for hardcore Stars and Stripes fans. And boozing they were. Waiters were bringing around six packs of Castle beer. The lads were downing lager as fast as they could lay hands on a bottle. Everyone was sauced and ebullient. Then Sunil Gulati turned up…
It was then, from the balcony of the bar, that an evil howling commenced. Even over the patriotic commotion you could hear it, an expression of pure animal rage that ran through the crowd like a dirty shank.
FUCK YOU, GULATI!… (Their complaints about Gulati, I would later learn, were manifold, and their origins were difficult to discern. They had something to do with the USSF and banners being prohibited in stadiums and ticket sales and Mexicans sitting in their section and not having “a seat at the table.”)… [Link]
Win or lose today, we here at SM appreciate all Gulati has done for the sport of futbol/soccer in the U.S. I like the fact that it is the hard work of an Indian American who grew up playing soccer in Nebraska that has in part led us to this game against Ghana’s Black Stars. Open Thread below for the game. Let’s go U-S-A!