Sunil Gulati discusses U.S. Soccer

Lauren Whelan, Sports Editor

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Back on his home turf, President of the United States Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati ’81 returned to the University as the third featured speaker of the Walling Lecture Series, presented by the School of Management. With members spread throughout the University community in attendance, Gulati reflected on his time at the University and his journey to become the prominent leader he is today.

Gulati is recognizable from last summer, when he was seen placing gold medals around the necks of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions, the U.S. Women’s National Team. Gulati was first elected as the President of the United States Soccer Federation in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010 and 2014. He described a typical day in his life to the audience, stunning everyone in attendance with his hectic schedule, which ranged from teaching classes at Columbia University, to traveling to Mexico to watch international soccer competitions, to visiting other locations all over the world to attend conferences for FIFA.

Reflecting on his time at the University, Gulati claims that it was not necessarily his talent, but rather his passion for the game that inspired his continued involvement and eventual leadership within the world of soccer. With 30 years of lifetime experience, Gulati has experienced the game at all levels in the United States and beyond, particularly through his involvement with FIFA.

As a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, Gulati was asked about the recently exposed scandals involving high executives in the organization and the resulting challenges that the rest of the organization’s members are facing. As a leader of the organization, Gulati expressed that it has affected both himself and the organization profoundly, and does not deny that it is a very difficult situation. Gulati displayed grace in his ability to react with composure, and discussed how the support of his peers in the committee has been crucial in moving past the recent events.

Gulati’s talk was inspiring to the students in attendance, as he is a true display of the University’s ability to foster an atmosphere that encourages this type of outstanding leadership. His motivation to follow his passion to the ultimate, international level is something that each and every student can aspire to.

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