Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter is running for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Carter’s announcement Tuesday came a day after Sunil Gulati said he will not seek a fourth term. He announced his decision after the U.S. men’s team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in October.
Carter has taken leave of her post at SUM, Major League Soccer’s marketing subsidiary. She is the lone woman among eight candidates for the job.
She joined former national team players Paul Caligiuri, Eric Wynalda and Kyle Martino as well as USSF vice-president Carlos Cordeiro, Boston lawyer Steve Gans, New York lawyer Michael Winograd and Paul LaPointe, Northeast Conference manager of the United Premier Soccer League.
The election will be held in February.
The 48-year-old Carter has spent a lifetime in soccer. She worked on the 1994 World Cup, held in the United States, before joining MLS in 1994 ahead of the league’s launch in 1996. In 2003, she moved to SUM, which is the exclusive marketing partner of U.S. Soccer and represents the Mexico Football Federation.
Carter was a goalkeeper at William & Mary from 1987-90 and shares the school record for goals against average.
"I think I’ve got a pretty decent understanding of what our membership is needing from a playing standpoint," she told The Associated Press. "But ultimately it’s also the 25 years of experience I have in the game itself."
Carter is a defender of gender equity in the sport, believing the men’s and the women’s teams should be treated equally: "There should be no delineation between our teams or our programs, for that matter."
The 58-year-old Gulati had been a driving force in the USSF for more than 30 years. During that time, the U.S. won the women’s World Cup in 1991, 1999 and 2015. He helped put together the successful bid that brought the 1994 World Cup to the U.S. and served as executive vice-president and chief international officer of the U.S. organizers for the tournament.
He was deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer from its launch until 1999; and president of Kraft Soccer Properties, which operates the New England Revolution of MLS.
Gulati was a unanimous pick in March 2006 to succeed Bob Contiguglia, who served two terms. Gulati replaced Chuck Blazer on FIFA’s executive committee in 2013 and continues to serve on the renamed FIFA council. He also is chairman of the joint U.S-Mexico-Canada bid committee, hoping FIFA will pick North America to host the 2026 World Cup.
There were reports Gulati would back Carter in the election, but Carter said he hadn’t yet lent his endorsement.
Carter will need to have three nominations from current board members by Dec. 12. She unveiled a website on Tuesday, www.teamkathycarter .com, for her candidacy.
"As a 5-foot-5 former goalkeeper, I never walked out on the field and someone said ‘Boy, she’s going to be fantastic.’ I had to earn everything I got," she said.