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Football Briefs: Donovan considering running for US soccer chief

October 19, 2017 17:48 IST
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Forme US star soccer player Landon Donovan 

IMAGE: Forme US star soccer player Landon Donovan. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

Former United States international Landon Donovan is considering running for president of the US Soccer Federation (USSF), Sports Illustrated reported on its website on Wednesday. reports that Donovan is "seriously considering" throwing his name into the mix for the election early next year. Current president Sunil Gulati has not yet said he was standing again but was expected to run for his fourth three-year term.

Boston lawyer Steve Gans has also received the required three letters of nomination needed to run, the report added.


Nominees must submit their applications by December 12.

"Donovan, who had no comment, has been asked by a number of respected figures in American soccer to contemplate running," according to the report.

"They're concerned about Sunil Gulati continuing to control decisions on the technical side -- including hiring head coach -- and think Donovan is better qualified to handle the soccer aspects of the job."

Gulati's position has come under intense scrutiny since the US last week failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, after losing their final qualifying game against Trinidad and Tobago.

Gulati, 58, refused to resign after the World Cup debacle.

A senior economics lecturer at ColombiaUniversity in New York, Gulati has presided over a period of economical stability as USSF chief.

Donovan, 35, might not bring Gulati's economic knowledge to the job, but his playing credentials are second to none.

He scored 57 goals in 154 international appearances for the U.S. and is their equal highest goalscorer with Clint Dempsey.

"I think there are a number of reasons we're missing the best kids, but the fact is we are missing a lot of the best kids," Donovan told the New York Times last week, speaking of the country's underachievement in the men's game.

"And that should not be the situation in a country of this size, with the resources we have, where kids are getting passed over for any reason, whether it's socioeconomic status, race, religion, proximity to a club."

We can win ISL: Bengaluru FC coach

Bengaluru FC failed in their bid to reach the AFC Cup final for the second consecutive year but head coach Albert Roca is optimistic that his side can only get better in the season and can win the Indian Super League, which begins next month.

"There is less than a month to go for ISL. It is going to test our efforts in that and as much as we work hard, we can take the trophy from there," Roca said after his team lost to Tajikistan side FC Istiklol 2-3 on aggregate in the two-legged Inter-Zone final.

Bengaluru lost the first leg 0-1 in Hisor last month and then played out a 2-2 draw in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Roca said he was optimistic about his side improving from hereon as the players have a never-say-die attitude.

"What I see is that the team does not give up no matter what, so I am optimistic that it will only get better from here on for this team," he said.

"In terms of football, we have a long road and we will have few changes as the season begins," he added.

Roca said he wants his team to forget the loss to Istiklol and focus on the future and be positive.

Star striker Sunil Chhetri said It was one of those games his side did everything to get a win but to no avail.

Asked what the team talk was at half time, after Harmanjot Khabra was shown the red card, Chhetri said, "It was really difficult, at halftime the talk was just to go out there and give our best.

“And once it began I saw Udanta (Singh) was on the go, he was all over the place from one end to the other that pushed me to do the same," he added.

Roca said it became difficult for the team to continue for rest of the match with ten men. He said he would not entirely blame Khabra, but in crucial matches players need to be cautious.

"The second yellow cost us a lot but it did not cost the opponents much who committed similar action and it's unbelievable. But these are things we have to live with and yes we had to pay for our actions," he said.

On the decisions of referee, Roca said, "Decisions including red carding Khabra put the team on the backfoot and on a difficult position, but these incidents are not under our control.

"I think there was too much that they had to go through. The actions taken by them are so important that and it can break anything in a game," he said.

"Those decisions and the red card just put us in the backfoot and put us in a difficult decision. But these are certain things that we could not do much about it and it was out of our control," said Roca. 

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