Well, well, who’d have thought this.
An Indian-born Columbia University economist as president of the United States Soccer Federation.
Born in Allahabad, Sunil Gulati grew up in Nebraska, studied at Columbia, worked at the World Bank and is now president of the United States Soccer Federation. Oh, our desi also teaches at Columbia.
The Sunday edition of the New York Times has an interview with Sunil Gulati (P.11 of the Sports Section, if you have the print edition).
Here’s an excerpt of the Q&A with Gulati:
Does U.S. soccer have an inferiority complex?
There is some of that for sure. Look, no one is claiming weâ€™re Brazil or Spain. No one claims that M.L.S. is the EPL or La Liga. But weâ€™ve made a lot of progress in building the league and a national-team fan base and culture. They are huge pluses. If we can replicate the growth of the last 25 years in the next 25, Iâ€™d do it in a heartbeat. There arenâ€™t many countries that have made advances in all ways: M.L.S. is 14 years old; the U.S. makes the largest TV rights payment for the World Cup; Americans are the No. 1 ticket buyers to the World Cup; the U.S. has more registered players; our womenâ€™s team is unparalleled; and no one is taking the menâ€™s team for granted anymore and weâ€™re in the mix to be seeded. No one would have thought those things 20 years ago. Weâ€™re all impatient by nature. Itâ€™s not fast enough for me.