Sunil Gulati won't be running for re-election as U.S. Soccer president: Things to know

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati won't be running for re-election, he told ESPN on Monday. President since 2006, Gulati had been contemplating whether to run again, especially since the men's national team's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

Here's what to know:

Why isn't he running again?

"I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and talking about it with people in many different positions -- many of whom told me I should run," Gulati said in an exclusive interview with Sam Borden of ESPN. "But in the end, I think the best thing for me personally, and for the federation, is to see someone new in the job."  

Things haven't gone well for the last few years, between the feud for equal pay and treatment on the women's side, the rough start to qualifying with Jurgen Klinsmann and then the heartbreak of failing to reach the 2018 World Cup. Pressure was coming from everywhere outside of U.S. Soccer for Gulati to step down and make way for a new face to lead the charge of the game in the United States, and Gulati seemed to finally realize it was time.

What does it mean for U.S. Soccer?

That there is going to be a lot of change. Not only will there be a new president, but there will also be a new head coach for the national team, likely after the World Cup, and there could be an overhaul of the squad with a youth movement potentially coming and past-their-prime players shown the door as this team looks to get back to a World Cup where it belongs. 

The U.S. men's national team's next important tournament is the 2019 Gold Cup. As for the women's national team, it remains to be seen if this is a positive step toward equal or fair compensation. 

What's next for Gulati?

Well, although his tenure as U.S. Soccer president appears to be over in February, Gulati appears set to finish his four-year term on the FIFA Council, according to Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl. He's being paid approximately $300,000 a year for that gig, and there could be another role for him in the horizon as the head of the organizing committee for the 2026 World Cup. We'll know more on that come June of 2018 when FIFA announces the 2026 host.

So what's next?

Well, a number of candidates have already stepped forward to announce their plans to run for president, including former U.S. men's national team members-turned-soccer analysts Eric Wynalda and Kyle Martino. Former USMNT player Paul Caligiuri is also running. There will be no shortage of names when it comes to candidates for the gig, but Wynalda and Martino are the two biggest so far. 

Boston attorney Steven Gans is also running, as is former player Michael Winograd, former soccer executive Paul Lapointe and former Goldman Sachs executive Carlos Cordeiro, who is Gulati's VP.

Martino has stated that his platform will be based on equality, progress and transparency in the game. In addition to equality in the men's and women's game, Wynalda's other focus is on getting American soccer on the same schedule as most leagues around of the world. That would mean a push for the MLS season to take place from August to May.

When is the election? 

The election will be held in February 2018.

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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