Hope Solo gestures during a match at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: EPA/DANIEL OLIVEIRA

LOS ANGELES - Former US women's national team goalkeeper Hope Solo joined the crowded race for the US Soccer Federation presidency on Thursday.

Solo, 36, announced her candidacy with a post on Facebook titled "Why I'm running for President of U.S. Soccer".

Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, last played for the USA at the 2016 Olympics.

After that tournament she was suspended for six months by US Soccer for calling Sweden, the United States' quarter-final opponents, "cowards".

She becomes the ninth candidate, and the second woman to voice interest in running, after Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter declared her candidacy on Tuesday.

Solo, like all the other candidates, has until next Tuesday, December 12, to get the three nominations from delegates required to officially join the field.

The election comes in the wake of the United States' humiliating failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

US Soccer Federation chief Sunil Gulati said this week that he would not seek re-election next year, indicating that the qualifying debacle influenced his decision.

"I think at this point, that's overshadowed a lot of other things that are important," he told ESPN.  "So fair or not, I accept that and think it's time for a new person."

Other candidates in the election to be held in February are former national team players Paul Caligiuri, Eric Wynalda and Kyle Martino as well as USSF vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Boston lawyer Steve Gans, New York lawyer Michael Winograd and Paul LaPointe, Northeast Conference manager of the United Premier Soccer League.

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