Resolving the legal dispute with the US women's national team before trial is a top priority, said new U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone and CEO and Secretary General William Wilson on Tuesday. Parlow Cone took over her role two weeks ago following the resignation of Carlos Cordeiro in the wake of fierce backlash to a legal filing made by the federation to defend itself in a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by the women's players.
"That’s one of our top priorities right now, Parlow Cone said on a conference call with reporters to unveil Wilson following his appointment on Monday. "I don't think a trial is good for either party or for soccer in this country or internationally. I'm hopeful we can find a resolution before this goes to trial."
"It’s a priority and finding a solution would be the best way to go forward," added Wilson, who previously served as an executive vice president of Soccer United Marketing and most recently worked at Wasserman Media Group.
in terms of a timeline for finding that resolution, Parlow Cone said that the coronavirus pandemic has made in-person discussions impossible for the time being but that she is hopeful that a conference call with the players can be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Parlow Cone, a former US women's national team player, added that the federation's recent legal filing, in which it argued that the women's team did not have the same responsibility or skill as their male counterparts, was "personally hurtful to me" and made her "very angry."
"It's one thing to argue that men and women play in different tournaments, it's very different to argue women have less ability or less responsibility," she said.
Adding that she did not see the filing before it became public, Parlow Cone said and an outside legal firm had since been hired to conduct a review of their processes and to discover where they broke down.
Watching from afar, Wilson said the filings were "quite frankly shocking and very disappointing."
Wilson's appointment Monday came after a six-month search following Dan Flynn's decision to step down last year. Both Wilson and Parlow Cone said that the former SUM executive's experience with labor issues and his diverse experience and ability to speak Spanish were key to his appointment and his ability to be a success in the role. Wilson was previously managing director of NFL Mexico.
"I think for me a huge priority in terms of growing the game is really uniting the various soccer demographics," he said. "What you’ll see with me over time is a very concerted effort to engage directly with all demographics."
Despite all the challenges he acknowledged, Wilson said U.S. Soccer was an organization he had "admired for many years" and was a place he had long wanted to work. With the upcoming 2026 World Cup to be hosted by the US, Canada and Mexico, it is an organization that has a "huge opportunity," he added.
As for Palow Cone's future, she said she had not yet decided whether she would run in next year's election to decide who will serve the remainder of Cordeiro's term.