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Indian-American to head US soccer body

By Suman Guha Mozumdar in New York
March 23, 2006 01:50 IST
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An Indian-American professor at Columbia University, who has been a longtime soccer executive, has been unanimously elected President of the United States Soccer Federation.

Professor Sunil Gulati was elected to the position on March 11 at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, the headquarters of the federation.

Gulati, a native of Allahabad, succeeds Dr S Robert Contiguglia, who is stepping down after two successful four-year terms.

Gulati, who ran unopposed in the election, has served as US Soccer's vice president since 2000.

"I am honored and look forward to helping to continue to guide our sport through the most prosperous period in our history," Gulati said.

"Across the past decade, a platform for this sport has been built that did not previously exist, and we now have an opportunity in the coming years to achieve more for soccer in the United States than anyone could have ever envisioned 15 or 10 or even five years ago," he said.

In his acceptance speech, Gulati touched on several new initiatives to be outlined in the next 100 days, including an international relations program, further initiatives in diversity, event hosting and a complete review of all US soccer technical areas.

With almost 30 years of experience at all levels of soccer in the United States, Gulati has helped the sport rise to new heights across four decades of hands on involvement. He currently serves as the President of Kraft Soccer Properties, taking the position after serving as Major League Soccer's deputy commissioner from its launch until 1999.

At the highly successful FIFA World Cup USA 1994, Gulati served as executive vice president and chief International officer and was a member of the original US World Cup bid committee in the 1980s that helped bring the event to the United States for the first time.

He also served on the Board of Directors of FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999 and 2003 and is currently serving on several FIFA committees.

Gulati graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bucknell University and earned his MA and M Phil in Economics at Columbia University, where he currently teaches in the economics department.

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Suman Guha Mozumdar in New York
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