WUSA Granted U.S. Soccer Membership as Division I Women's Professional Soccer League
NEW YORK CITY (Friday, August 18, 2000) - In a vote today at U.S. Soccer's 84th Annual General Meeting in New York City, U.S. Soccer's National Council approved membership of the Women's United Soccer Association as a sanctioned Division I women's professional soccer league. The National Council also elected longtime U.S. Soccer executive Sunil Gulati to a two-year term as the Federation's new Executive Vice President.
The WUSA has previously announced plans to begin play in 2001 in eight cities across the country, including: Atlanta, the Bay Area, Boston, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington, D.C. Led by investor John Hendricks, the WUSA has also forged ahead on a cooperation agreement that will see the new league work side-by-side with Major League Soccer to help maximize the market presence and success of both Division I leagues.
The National Council's approval of the WUSA came just one day after U.S. Soccer's Board of Directors had approved provisional membership to open the three-day Annual General Meeting.
"In addition to putting together an incredible group of investors and administrators, the WUSA has put a framework in place to launch what will be the top Division I women's professional soccer league in the world," said Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, President of U.S. Soccer. "The foundation of our U.S. Women's National Team's program will rely heavily on the WUSA's introduction of women's professional soccer to the United States. Everyone in U.S. Soccer's family is responsible for the future success of the WUSA."
In another sanctioning move, the National Council also approved membership for the World Indoor Soccer League, an active eight-team indoor league based in Texas (www.wisl.net).
In the election of the Federation's executive vice president, Gulati won a close vote over incumbent John Motta, who had won a similarly close election over Gulati in 1998 in Hawaii. Gulati has more than 20 years of experience at all levels of the sport, and currently serves as the Managing Director of Kraft Soccer Properties for the New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. Gulati's two-year term begins immediately.
The 41-year-old Gulati served as the MLS Deputy Commissioner through 1998, and prior to that played a major role in the U.S. National Teams' rise to prominence from 1987 to 1994. Gulati also served as Executive Vice President and Chief International Officer for World Cup USA 1994.
Schooled at both Bucknell University and Columbia University, he served as an assistant professor of economics at Columbia from 1986 to 1990 before joining the World Bank through its Young Professionals Program in 1991.
For more information on the U.S. Soccer Annual General Meeting and the Federation's political structure, log on to U.S. Soccer's Membership Section at www.us-soccer.com.