In many sports organizations, if a heavily recruited, highly paid coach turned out to be a bust, the person who hired that coach might get the boot — “the rough equivalent,” writes Sam Borden of The New York Times, “of a general manager being fired along with a struggling coach as part of a total housecleaning.”
But that won’t happen to U.S. Soccer’s president, Sunil Gulati.
It was Gulati who hired Jurgen Klinsmann to coach the U.S. men’s team, then fired him, then replaced him with Bruce Arena, a coach Gulati had previously fired.
Gulati is also the person who hired Tom Sermanni to coach the U.S. women’s team, then fired him 15 months later.
He’s the person who looked the other way for years while Hope Solo said and did things to embarrass herself and U.S. Soccer — then cut her loose as soon as the Americans stumbled out of this summer’s Olympics and her skills in goal were no longer needed.
And he’s the person who seems to be doing everything he can to screw up the federation’s labor negotiations with the U.S. women, who could go on strike at the end of December.
But no matter how many things he screws up, we’re stuck with him. Borden explains why.