Hope Solo did not win the U.S. Soccer presidency, but she certainly took aim at the man who did in a passionate speech before the election.
Federation vice-president Carlos Cordeiro emerged victorious from the eight-person field after three rounds of voting, with Solo finishing a distant fifth in that final round.
However, the former U.S. women’s team No.1 slammed the eventual winner in a pre-election speech where she blasted Cordeiro as one of the establishment candidates and for standing by while little changed in the women’s team’s fight for equality.
“I was a player for nearly 20 years and I saw first hand what Carlos Cordeiro’s idea of change is,” Solo said in her speech. “You cannot as a vice-president claim you are the lone voice of change while all of this happened under your watch.”
Solo later went on to detail the inequities she faced as a member of the women’s national team, comparing her pay scale to that of her contemporary No.1 on the men’s national team, Tim Howard.
“In 2015, as the best goalkeeper in the world, I had to play 23 games, win a World Cup and win the Golden Glove, only to make $40,000 less than Tim Howard, who only had to play eight games and win nothing in his World Cup year.
“[Cordeiro] was part of a federation that could have been the first to pay its women equally. Instead that honor goes to Norway, while the U.S. women, the most successful team ever, has to force it through the court system. He was part of the same federation that time and time again approved unsafe playing conditions for the women and who still play on turf, while the men play on grass.
“He was part of a federation that thinks it's acceptable for a player in the NWSL to make less than $10,000 a year and have to take a second or third job just to fulfill her dream of being a professional athlete.
“He was part of the same federation that leaves me with no health insurance, no retirement of any kind, after serving my country as the best in the world for 20 years. For 10 years, Carlos Cordeiro was in a position to create change, and he did nothing. He failed me, he failed my teammates and he failed the women of the NWSL."
Solo then cited the Boston Breakers, an NWSL franchise that recently folded, as an example of the federation doing little to help the women’s side of the game.
Solo also went hard after Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter, who was seen as one of the favorites for the presidency throughout the campaign. Carter finished a close second to Cordeiro in the first two rounds of voting and ended up tied with former U.S national team player and NBC Sports analyst Kyle Martino for second place in the final round as her vote total dropped off.
"The businesswomen among the candidates, Kathy Carter, who proclaims that she is 'all in' on the women's game, never once showed any kind of support for us during our fight for equal pay. As the highest-ranking female soccer executive in America, whose voice could have meant something, Kathy Carter's voice was silent.
“She calls for equal pay and transparency, yet when the two United States senators asked Soccer United Marketing under Kathy Carter for a breakdown of revenue for the men's and women's national teams, she refused.”
Earlier in the week, Solo called out Carter for the same refusal to hand over that revenue breakdown in an interview with the Guardian, during which she also speculated her questioning over image rights helped lead to her dismissal from the U.S. national team.
Solo was one of eight candidates running to replace outgoing federation president Sunil Gulati, who decided not to seek a fourth term following the U.S. men’s national team elimination from the 2018 World Cup on the last day of CONCACAF qualifying.
However, despite the applause she received for the speech, Solo was unable to turn that into actual votes. She was never able to crack more than two percent of the electorate in any round of voting.