On the eve of the election for U.S. Soccer president, 32 players on the United States women's national team have endorsed incumbent Cindy Parlow Cone.
The players, who range from World Cup veterans, including Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn, to newer players like Trinity Rodman and Ashley Sanchez, said Cone "deeply understands the work that needs to be done to continue to create equality."
"The U.S. Soccer Federation needs a leader who will move our sport forward, not backward. That is why we are endorsing Cindy Parlow Cone for President," the players wrote Friday. "We respect Cindy's integrity, her passion for the game as a former player and a coach, her pragmatic approach as a business leader, and commitment to its players at all levels from our national teams to the grassroots level."
The election will be held Saturday at U.S. Soccer's annual general meeting in Atlanta. Only U.S. Soccer constituents are eligible to vote in the election, and the USWNT players are represented by the 23-player Athletes Council. Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Sauerbrunn and Lynn Williams, who all signed the letter, sit on the Athletes Council.
Cone is running against Carlos Cordeiro, the former president of U.S. Soccer who resigned in March 2020. Cordeiro faced backlash from sponsors and other stakeholders who accused the federation of sexism for its disparaging language used in legal filings during the USWNT's equal pay lawsuit.
The players in their endorsement did not address Cordeiro, but Rapinoe made it clear earlier this week where her support was, telling reporters Cordeiro "was certainly not getting my vote, that's for sure." The players and U.S. Soccer settled their equal pay lawsuit for a $24 million settlement, which they announced on Feb. 22, in joint media appearances with Rapinoe, Cone and other players.
The players who signed the letter are: Jane Campbell, Alana Cook, Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Adrianna Franch, Morgan Gautrat, Ashlyn Harris, Ashley Hatch, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Sofia Huerta, Krieger, Casey Krueger, Rose Lavelle, Catarina Macario, Kristie Mewis, Sam Mewis, Morgan, Casey Murphy, Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O'Hara, Mallory Pugh, Midge Purce, Rapinoe, Rodman, Sanchez, Sauerbrunn, Sophia Smith, Emily Sonnett, Andi Sullivan and Williams.
"We see how much our colleagues at the U.S. Soccer Federation -- from the staff to the executives -- value Cindy's leadership and the cultural advances that she has championed," the players wrote. "The women's game around the world is quickly evolving. The caliber of play has never been higher and is only accelerating -- and the global interest from fans, sponsors, and media continues to grow. This is an exciting time for our sport.
"Importantly, Cindy deeply understands the work that needs to be done to continue to create equality, implement fair structures, improve protections for players of all ages, and break down barriers that exist within our sport and within the U.S. Soccer Federation. Our recent settlement agreement to equalize pay and working conditions between the men's and women's national teams demonstrates her commitment in action."