Parlow Cone takes over at US Soccer at critical juncture

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2019, file photo, Cindy Parlow Cone, vice president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, attends a meeting of the organization's board of directors Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in Chicago. Carlos Cordeiro resigned as the federation's president Thursday night, March 12, 2020, three days after the organization sparked a backlash when its legal papers in a gender discrimination lawsuit claimed the women's national team players had less physical ability and responsibility than their male counterparts. His decision elevated former American midfielder Parlow Cone to become the first woman president in the history of the 107-year-old federation. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2019, file photo, Cindy Parlow Cone, vice president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, attends a meeting of the organization's board of directors Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, in Chicago. Carlos Cordeiro resigned as the federation's president Thursday night, March 12, 2020, three days after the organization sparked a backlash when its legal papers in a gender discrimination lawsuit claimed the women's national team players had less physical ability and responsibility than their male counterparts. His decision elevated former American midfielder Parlow Cone to become the first woman president in the history of the 107-year-old federation. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

New U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone's first challenge will be to confront the fallout over the federation's widely condemned legal stance in the gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the women's national team.

The first woman president in the 107-year history of the governing body will also oversee the appointment of a new chief executive and early preparations for the 2026 World Cup.

A former national team midfielder who became the federation's vice president last year, Parlow Cone took on her new role Thursday when President Carlos Cordeiro abruptly stepped down.

Cordeiro was facing a growing outcry from players, board members, supporters and sponsors over assertions made in court documents filed this week. USSF lawyers suggested the women's team was inferior because the players had fewer responsibilities and less physical skill than male national team counterparts.

Former teammates rallied in support of Parlow Cone, who has the unenviable task of damage control.

“I have known Cindy Parlow Cone for over two decades as both a teammate and friend. She has always led with integrity and a commitment to others. I have no doubt that she will dedicate herself to making our game better for all,” Mia Hamm said on social media.

Fellow teammate Julie Foudy wrote: “I played with Cindy for many years. I know Cindy. She understands ALL the players are going through having lived it. And she is one hell of a human. Give her a chance to succeed. Please.”

Now 41, Parlow Cone scored 75 goals in 158 appearances for the U.S. from 1995 to 2006, winning the 1999 World Cup and two Olympic gold medals with the team. She retired because of post-concussion syndrome.