February 3, 2022
TO: The Members of U.S. Soccer
FROM: The Board of the U.S. Soccer Foundation
As you most of you know, the U.S. Soccer Foundation was created in 1994 as a key part of the legacy of World Cup USA 1994. In the 28 years since that founding, we have provided direct grants to soccer organizations across the country, increased access and participation in underserved communities through our Soccer for Success and Safe Places to Play programs and worked in many other areas to promote the sport more broadly.
Throughout our existence we have worked with many of your organizations. We have supported grassroots programs and field building initiatives across the country, supported elite player development and have even worked with the professional leagues. We have worked closely with U.S. Soccer and its leadership since 1994 in helping to grow the game. All five of U.S. Soccer’s presidents since the Foundation’s inception have served on our Board of Directors, including our Founder and Lifetime Director Alan Rothenberg.
In the 28 years since our creation, we have refrained from any direct involvement in the governance of U.S. Soccer. We have never endorsed a candidate for office. We have remained neutral because we want to work closely with U.S. Soccer, regardless of who is in office. But given the unique circumstances described below, we have decided that this time we must weigh in and enthusiastically endorse the candidacy of Cindy Cone for reelection as U.S. Soccer President.
In our 28 years we have had occasional bumps in our relationship with U.S. Soccer—as is the case in most partnerships. However, our organizations have always been joined at the hip. Before U.S. Soccer had the levels of commercial success it enjoys today, the Foundation was an important financial contributor to U.S. Soccer programs. Many Foundation board members over the years have come from U.S. Soccer. Their President has always had a seat on our Board.
But that goodwill and partnership took a turn for the worse between 2018-2020, when the leadership of U.S. Soccer at that time threatened to take the Foundation’s various marks, goodwill, and our very name. We had no choice but to defend our organization and were forced into litigation. In our view, the matter was completely avoidable, and ended up costing U.S. Soccer and the Foundation significant monies; monies that both organizations could have put to better use for the game.
When Cindy–following her predecessor’s resignation–took over as President in March 2020, immediate discussions between the organizations led to an amicable and quick resolution of the lawsuit. Cindy’s leadership was instrumental in getting the two organizations working together in a harmonious manner—that is what leaders do.
Cindy’s work on our board since then has only furthered our opinion of her as the right leader for U.S. Soccer. She is clearly committed to young people and growing the game at all levels of the sport. Her record as a player and coach are well known. Her remarkable leadership in the last two years, under incredibly challenging circumstances, is apparent to all of us. Now is not the time to go backwards.
Therefore, she has earned our highest possible endorsement.
We urge the members of U.S. Soccer to vote for Cindy Parlow Cone.