Cindy Parlow Cone reelected as U.S. Soccer president, defeats Carlos Cordeiro

Cindy Parlow Cone won re-election as U.S. Soccer Federation president on Saturday, fending off a challenge from predecessor Carlos Cordeiro.

Cone won 52.9% of the weighted vote from the USSF's National Council, and will now serve a new, four-year term that will expire in 2026, just a few months before the U.S. will co-host that year's World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

Saturday's tally was the closest final ballot in U.S. Soccer history.

"The moment of division is now in the past. We are one Federation. We are one team. I promise to be the leader for all of us soccer," Cone said following the vote. "I have never been more excited and more hopeful about the future of our beautiful game. Our national teams are young, exciting and full of promise. Our professional leagues are at the vanguard of driving our sport for the grassroots soccer as vibrant, healthy and changing lives every day. And we are assumed to host at least one World Cup and show the world what we have to offer.

"Now is the time for all of us to work together. No more divisions. We don't have time for all of that. Our moment is now and I promise you that each and every one of you have a friend and a partner and as president of U.S. Soccer."

As recently as three months ago, Cone looked like she might run unopposed. She had taken over following Cordeiro's resignation in 2020 when legal filings from the USSF in the equal pay lawsuit made disparaging remarks about the women's players stating they "do not perform equal work requiring equal skill [and] effort" because "the overall soccer-playing ability required to compete at the senior men's national team level is materially influenced by the level of certain physical attributes such as speed and strength."

Following Cordeiro's resignation, Cone navigated the USSF through the COVID-19 pandemic, and under her watch the USSF secured a settlement in the equal pay lawsuit, as well as a new media rights deal with Turner Sports.

But dissatisfaction with Cone's performance within the grassroots state associations led some voters to push Cordeiro to run for his old job. There were also concerns that the USSF under Cone was squandering an opportunity to grow the sport that comes with hosting the World Cup. Cordeiro announced his intention to run in early January.

Yet Cone was able to secure enough votes -- she secured several public endorsements from members of the Athletes Council, which held 33.3 percent of the weighted vote -- to win re-election. On the eve of Saturday's election, Cone had received the endorsements of 32 players on the United States women's national team.

Following the result, USWNT players' spokesperson Molly Levinson said: "Equal pay has gone from a whisper in the locker room to a roar on the field to fundamentally changing the business of sports and soccer in the United States, and around the world. We look forward to Cindy's leadership."

Cone added that that she will turn her attention to a report by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates on allegations of abusive behavior. Yates was hired in October to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct in women's professional soccer.

"We're not looking to just make a change just to make a change,'' Cone said. "When there's problem, especially as horrible as the abuse that has been going on, it's human nature to want to jump in and do something. And I felt that, as well, and I hear that from other people. But we want to make sure the changes that we are making are the right changes and really impactful changes. And really we want to do everything that we can to make sure and to prevent this from ever happening again.''