The Real Deal: Campaigning for Change
By Mandy Housenick
Feb. 10 has been a big day in Michael Winograd's life for more than a decade.
It is his daughter Chloe's birthday. She'll be 12 this Saturday.
Winograd, a 1992 Lafayette College graduate is hoping this Feb. 10 is extra special.
He is a candidate for president of the United States Soccer Federation, which is conducting its election in Orlando, Fla. Winograd is among eight candidates, with the winner required to receive a majority of votes from those various levels of the sport.
"I went to the women's World Cup in Montreal," Winograd said. "Nobody ever quite understands who is making the decisions in U.S. Soccer.
"When the U.S. lost its qualifying game in October, that sort of opened the door to run and make a real possibility for some change."
Soccer has been a significant part of Winograd's life on a variety of levels.
The 47-year old played four years for the Leopards and three years professionally in Israel. He coached at Richmond and then started a second-division pro team, the Staten Island Vipers with another Lafayette alum before heading to law school.
Since 2009, he's been on the board of his local soccer organization while coaching his children, Chloe and a son, Liam, 13, in Ridgewood, N.J.
"While coaching my kids, I began to realize a lot of the issues that existed in U.S. soccer, that it's a conglomerate of overlapping businesses," said Winograd, who has spent a lot of time trying to spread the word that change is needed.
"We have a chance to make U.S. soccer better. It's been exciting to get out there and offer suggestions, offer ideas and talk about ways to actually get things done. You need to speak with the board [of directors] and persuade the board to move to implement the ideas with the constituents.
"But, it's been exciting laying the ground work."
Winograd reached back to his Lafayette roots to take this opportunity. His wife, the former Siobhan Crann, is a 1995 Lafayette graduate. She created a website to promote Winograd's platform. Former college roommates Chris Chamides and Tom Neale are his campaign advisors. He's also reconnected with Leopards soccer coach Dennis Bohn.
A corporate lawyer with Ropes and Gray, Winograd has focused a big part of his platform on equality, something that has come to light in recent years with the men's and women's national teams.
"The single biggest change we need is to be more of an inclusive, merit-based and transparent government structure," he said. "It's shocking to me that we are still talking about this in 2018.
"There needs to be absolute equality between the men's and women's programs. If the men don't play on sub-standard fields, neither should the women. If the men fly first class to games, the women should fly first class."
- Michael Winograd '92
"There needs to be absolute equality between the men's and women's programs. If the men don't play on sub-standard fields, neither should the women. If the men fly first class to games, the women should fly first class.
"The inclusive governance will help, but we really need to mend all the fracturing that has occurred. We need to clarify and restructure on a state-by-state basis."
U.S. Soccer is a non-profit organization and the governing body of soccer in all its forms. Based in Chicago, it has played a key part in charting the course of the sport in this country for more than a century.
Other candidates are: Paul Caligiuri, Kathy Carter, Carlos Cordeiro, Steve Gans, Kyle Martino, former women's U.S. national team goalie Hope Solo and Eric Wynalda.
Solo has had several off-the-field incidents.
Cordeiro is the only candidate with national soccer governing experience, having played several roles including vice president of the United States Soccer Federation for the last two years.
Those who vote on the candidates are: representatives from state associations, professional leagues and national associations; voting members of the Athletes Council; voting members of the U.S. Soccer's Board of Directors; each past president and life member; delegates from each National Association, National affiliate, other affiliates and the Disable Service Organization and Associate; plus delegates selected by individual sustaining members.
The newly elected president's term is four years starting at the conclusion of the National Council Meeting. A president can serve up to three terms and a total of 16 years as an elected official.
Winograd is ready to make a long-term commitment.
"This is pretty close to a full-time job and I'm ready to do that," he said. "Maybe I'd stay at Ropes and Gray and have reduced hours.
"My best friends are still from Lafayette. They were working with me on this campaign. The idea of running came from conversations with them, and when I needed them I have relied on Lafayette resources."