Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunil Out

When Sunil Gulati was hired as the managing director of Kraft Soccer about six years ago, he seemed like a good fit. At the time, he was a big power broker behind the scenes at US Soccer. He was instrumental in bringing the 1994 men's world cup and the 1999 women's world cup to our country. He had worked his way up the US Soccer ladder to a point where he could help bring US matches to Kraft's stadium and work within the system to bring international players to the Revs. Back then, teams begged for the rights of players MLS signed. A person like Sunil Gulati seemed like someone who could help with this.

His behind the scenes efforts seemed to pay off with Foxboro continuing to host US matches including two important qualifiers in 2001 and the 2002 sendoff game against Holland. Then, Sunil went ahead and got himself a promotion.

By becoming vice president of US Soccer, Sunil went from being a powerful lobyist to one of the faces of the USSF. When that happened, it made it tougher to work behind the scenes for Kraft's benefit. Anything that benefitted Kraft, when it came to US national team games, could be questioned. The two qualifiers in 2001 and the sendoff in 2002 had a higher attendance than any USMNT game leading up to the 2006 cup except the important Costa Rica match in Salt Lake City. The only game that Foxboro was awarded was a throw-away game well after the US qualified against Panama on a wednesday night. An important qualifier was played earlier in Hartford, which was where the final sendoff was played. Both of those games drew 22,000, well below the attendances of the games in Foxboro back in '01 and '02.

Now that Sunil has become USSF president, it will become even harder to get important games. Sure, we're getting the woman's team and some gold cup games, but it's unlikely Gulati can pull strings to get anything better when it's his own strings being pulled. If it seems like Foxboro's being favored in any way, there will be public outcry this time around. By the way, I firmly believe that we are getting those games as a result of the Revs being left out of the tournament with Mexican teams.

So what does this have to do with the Revs?

Absolutely nothing, and that's the problem. I was a big fan of Pepe Cancela, but him being the only international to make an impact during Gulati's reign is pretty sad. Another problm is the fact that most of the Rev's front office considers him their boss. He lives in New York City! I wish some of my bosses had lived three states away, but nothing would have gotten done.

What the Revs need is a technical director who can scout talent, negotiate, and sell the area to those players. Coach Nicol can't do that durng the season. Someone doing those things last year would have set up the Revs nicely for an offseason we need to be adding players.

Sunil represents the Revs on the league's disiplinary committee and audit committee. I guess he leads by example given all the decisions which went against us this year and the Revs having the lowest payroll in MLS for years. We need an advocate, not someone who has to worry about "the good of US Soccer" when decisions are made at MLS HQ. If Sunil were let go by the Revs, he could perform those duties on those committees without the fear of bias. There's nothing wrong with that.

Sunil Gulati is no longer a positive for the Revs. It's time to show the "evil little midget" the door. We can do better.