It really started on October 19th with a simple text of “Should I?”
Did I want to put my name in the hat for this wild ride of attempting to run for USSF Vice President? Now yes, I had conversations previous to this with friends and family about making sure that we have an election and inevitably the switch to “Why don’t you run?” always happened. On the 19th of October… I decided to do it.
I absolutely knew that it was a very long shot. When I say long shot… I mean that as I knew I had realistically a zero percent chance of winning. My main goal was to make sure that the conversation about the soul of the game in this country continued. The energy and momentum around the HOW and WHY we govern the game the way we do that was built during the lead up to the USSF AGM and the Presidential election was amazing. I didn’t want to lose that.
I called WVSA the next day and ran it by the leadership to see what they thought. They were all the way on board and very excited about it. One letter in the bag!
On October 23rd I started sending emails, text messages and DM’s to people I knew.
The politics of the situation had begun. You should talk to so and so… I’ve heard such and such is running you should call them… make sure you talk to so and so… we will make sure our board votes on it. I was having great conversations with people, but I had not been able to secure the two additional letters.
On November 6th I sent out my first emails to a small group of organizations I did not have prior relationships with that I think would share like issues with what WV deals with.
November 14th, I sent out an email to several hundred people involved in the governance of the game across the country.
November 15th, I contacted the Athletes Council to try to arrange a conversation with them about a letter of nomination.
November 30th I am hit with a call that I didn’t expect. Don Garber and the Athletes Council have both come out in support of a candidate. The election is over and nobody even knows yet.
What am I supposed to do now? Very few outside of the inner workings of the game even know I am running or have read my platform. The conversation has not been out in the open… it is just me and one person on a phone, an email exchange, or a series of text messages. This is NOT what I wanted to see happen.
Even though I only have one Letter of Nomination and I know that I am not guaranteed to get the others I decide I have to release my platform to the public. I know it will be embarrassing if I don’t get the three letters. This is about something bigger than me though, this is about making sure we talk about where soccer in this country needs to be. So, I release my platform and request for nominations that I have been sending to the leaders of the game around the nation.
I am contacted by numerous media outlets and talk about the issues. Phil Baki of Protagonist Soccer writes an amazing article and I send a second round of emails to the leadership of soccer in this country.
I am still confident that I am going to get the remaining two nominations I need.
Then something changes behind the scenes. I am not sure what it is. People who had been talking to me stop. Votes are starting to happen and state association board members who are confident that they are going to be nominating me start to send me messages apologizing and saying that their state decided against it.
Word hits Twitter that Cindy Parlow Cone is the candidate of choice…
Now everyone else knows that the election is over. It was no longer a secret…
That is how the 2019 USSF Vice Presidential Election ended.
There is a thin line between disappointed and bitter. Yes, I am disappointed. No, I am not bitter. I was able to spark some conversation around where I felt the governance of the game in this country needs to go and about how to better the game for more than just the top of the game.
I kept working the phone up until literally this morning trying to get my two letters. I talked to people who sounded genuinely disappointed that they couldn’t or felt they were not able for a variety of reasons able to help make sure there was an election.
Maybe there is a second candidate out there that was able to get the three letters of support that I (and nobody I’ve talked to) is aware of… but I was not able to get them.
The big question is where do we go from here? We all know exactly how these elections work. We have seen two in a row now decided in this same exact manner. Don Garber and the Athlete Council decide who they want, and they work with a few other large organizations and they get who they want. That is all it takes. Less than 25 people decide where the Federation goes and who gets to lead it.
The Athlete Council never even responded to my attempts to talk to them. I find it a little ironic that I sent Cindy Cone two emails asking to talk to her before I knew she was a candidate. Today the council released a statement that they are in unanimous support of her.
If you read my blog you've seen me say this before… I don’t quit.
If you aren’t happy with 25 people making the decisions on who gets to lead and where soccer in this nation is headed and want to meet me in person and talk about where we go from here…. I will be at the AGM in Arizona. I would love to talk to you.