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Friday kickoff

Gulati speaks out, Rubin finds a new club, Hyndman needs one

The final few days of U.S. Soccer's presidential race is full of fireworks while the conclusion of the transfer window raises some more questions for a few of the most promising players from the 2015 U-20 World Cup team. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
February 02, 2018
4:15 AM
If there is any good news in American soccer at the moment it is that the awful presidential race is drawing to a close – but the final days are full of fireworks. Also, Rubio Rubin finds a new club but Emerson Hyndman needs one.

Gulati speaks out

In a speech yesterday at the Youth Soccer Awards ceremony, outgoing U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati took a very critical take on the current presidential election.

He is right on a lot of things. The tone of the current presidential election is terrible and a lot of the ideas being floated around right now are overpromises. The language is unnecessarily harsh and many of the candidates have resumes that make it questionable whether or not they can actually run a large organization.

Of course Gulati made the right decision to step aside. Accountability is critical after the failure of the men’s team to reach the world cup.

The current group of candidates are underwhelming. Frontrunner Kathy Carter has offered very little other than carefully worded corporate speak. Even if she were elected and the national team succeeded (which I am optimistic regardless of who is elected), her tenure would not sit well with a large portion of the fanbase. Carter seems oblivious to that and has done little to offer anything substantive that would unify the base.

Carlos Cordeiro also is short on proposals other than he will hire the right people and have committees to address all major topics.

On the flip side, Eric Wynalda has brings in serious questions. He has never run anything well and his ideas on promotion/relegation are unconvincing, especially how he would implement it. The tone of his rhetoric is hardly unifying.

Kyle Martino also has the weakness of never having run an organization but his tone is far friendlier. He would attempt to be unifying. Some of his ideas are concerning. For example, the idea that MLS expansion teams have to invest in an NWSL team does not seem productive.

Gulati has made questionable decisions during his tenure – most notably with the coaches he has hired. The federation needs a technical director (on both the men’s and women’s side) who can make soccer decisions on the respective decisions.

Many of the other candidates have all dismissed the accomplishment of bringing money into US Soccer saying the federations is overly concerned with profits. But money is absolutely crucial to improvement. The amount of money the German federation invested around the turn of the millennium was staggering.

Gulati made a lot of good points but where Gulati looked bad, and where many look bad, is when he focused on the loss in Trinidad & Tobago. It was a bad loss and upsets can happen in any sport at any time.

The real focus should be on how the entire cycle was bad. Why was there such a big lost generation of development? What can be done to avoid that in the future? Why did Gulati extend Jurgen Klinsmann’s contract and empower him before the 2014 World Cup when coaches now have a history of underperforming in a second cycle? Did Gulati have tunnel vision when focusing in on hiring Klinsmann dating back to 2006 to the exclusion of considering other options?

Gulati should be criticized for a lot. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t get a lot right in this speech. Everyone should watch it.

Rubin lands in Tijuana

Rubio Rubin’s career has not gone as expected when he was perhaps the top American teenager at 18 in 2015 when he was a regular starter in the Eredivisie. He has gradually spiraled downward and was hardly seeing the field at Silkeborg in Denmark and then Stabaek in Norway.

On Thursday, it was announced Rubin, 21, has come to terms with Club Tijuana in Liga MX despite MLS interest. But Tijuana is off to a strong start this season and will be a tough lineup for him to play. He has talent but is probably very short on confidence at the moment. At some point he needs to play.

What to make of Hyndman?

One of the more disappointing results of the transfer window was the failure of Emerson Hyndman to go on loan away from Bournemouth. To date, his only league appearances of his career are 25 Championship appearances and 17 appearances in the Scottish Premier League. For a player of his talent who is approaching 22 years old, that is not good enough.

The transfer deadline for most of Europe has passed but it makes you wonder if MLS teams are going to approach Hyndman in the weeks ahead. Like Rubin, he just needs to play.

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