(Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

The U.S. Soccer Foundation issued a letter of support for USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone in the upcoming election. It’s the first time that the Foundation’s Board of Directors has ever taken a position in a U.S. Soccer election.

“The stakes are too high this time to remain silent,” they wrote.

Cone is up for re-election in March after two years serving as president of US Soccer. Former president Carlos Cordeiro announced in early January that is running once again. Appointed USSF president in 2018, Cordeiro resigned in March 2020 amid backlash from court filings in the USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit.

“In the 28 years since our creation, we have refrained from any direct involvement in the governance of U.S. Soccer,” the Foundation wrote in a letter. “We have never endorsed a candidate for office. We have remained neutral because we want to work closely with U.S. Soccer, regardless of who is in office.”

While the two organizations are not the same, they do work together in a partnership, with the Foundation contributing financially at times to help support the USSF.

In the letter, they write that the two organizations have always been “joined at the hip” and that is why they have refrained from openly endorsing a candidate. But, when Cordeiro was president from 2018-2020, it resulted in the partnership souring.

“The leadership of U.S. Soccer at that time threatened to take the Foundation’s various marks, goodwill, and our very name,” they continued. “We had no choice but to defend our organization and were forced into litigation. In our view, the matter was completely avoidable, and ended up costing U.S. Soccer and the Foundation significant monies; monies that both organizations could have put to better use for the game.

“When Cindy — following her predecessor’s resignation — took over as President in March 2020, immediate discussions between the organizations led to an amicable and quick resolution of the lawsuit. Cindy’s leadership was instrumental in getting the two organizations working together in a harmonious manner—that is what leaders do.”

The Foundation concluded the letter by saying that Cone has earned their “highest possible endorsement” and urged voting members to re-elect Cone.