20 October, 2020

Indian Playmaker

The American soccer establishment has an unlikely star

Indian Playmaker

HE is one star you don't see on the field, but many soccer fans agree that Sunil Gulati is one of the best team players in the US. A powerful negotiator, this 36-year-old is deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer, an organisation started last year to popularise the game in the country. 

While Gulati says that "there is no tradition of football in the US", there is no doubting that he has made a major breakthrough. He rubs shoulders with athletes and FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) members, and makes deals all over the world. He is responsible for signing on players and negotiating their contracts. The mix of players has to be just right, and there isn't that much money to play around with, only $1.1 million per team, a paltry amount compared to the money spent on other sports. 

"The biggest challenge is dealing with so many different parts of the world, so many different cultures to get players in the field," says Gulati. "You're dealing with multiple languages and very short economic terms. It...



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