Kyle Martino to run for U.S. Soccer presidency, taking hiatus from NBC

Former United States midfielder Kyle Martino has entered his name in the growing field of candidates who are running for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Martino, 36, will take a hiatus from his prominent role as an analyst for NBC Sports' Premier League coverage to focus on his campaign.

He will hope to replace Sunil Gulati as U.S. Soccer president at February's election, joining a list of names that has lengthened steadily since the U.S. men's national team failed to qualify last month for the 2018 World Cup.

Martino told The New York Times he would take a group approach to leading the federation.

"This is not about a person for a person," Martino said. "There's no one person who's going to save U.S. Soccer. This is about a consortium.

"When a club in England is failing and they're in jeopardy of going into administration and disappearing, fans, former players, business people -- they all get together with their time, experiences and resources with the sole purpose of saving a club they love. We need to do that with U.S. Soccer.

"We need a group, to step up and say, 'Enough is enough, we're here to save this thing.' I can mobilize that group."

Martino also gave the Times letters of recommendation from former global stars David Beckham and Thierry Henry, who both played in Major League Soccer in the U.S. during their careers.

In running for USSF president, Martino joins fellow former U.S. players Eric Wynalda and Paul Caligiuri, as well as attorneys Steve Gans and Mike Winograd, and amateur league official Paul Lapointe.

Gulati, 58, hasn't decided whether he will run, but the likelihood of him seeking a fourth term decreased when his top aide, U.S. Soccer executive vice president Carlos Cordeiro, announced last month that he would also be running.

Martino was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2002 and spent five years with the Columbus Crew before joining the Los Angeles Galaxy for two seasons. He played in eight games for the U.S. national team, but after mounting injuries led him to retire in 2008, he worked as an MLS analyst for ESPN before joining NBC.

Martino had told Bleacher Report last month that he would not run for USSF president because it was a volunteer position, but he has since changed his mind.

"I didn't dream of doing this job, but I know I have to do it," he said. "And if Feb. 10 comes and goes and I'm not the president of U.S. Soccer, I can promise that whoever is, I will make sure that, if they beat me, they have soccer's best interests at heart. And that they know the soccer community can mobilize and we're watching them."