Parlow running a training session, December 2014
|Full name||Cynthia Marie Parlow Cone|
|Date of birth||May 8, 1978|
|Place of birth||Memphis, Tennessee|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|1995–1998||North Carolina Tar Heels||103||(68)|
|2007–2012||North Carolina Tar Heels (assistant)|
|2012–2013||Portland Thorns FC|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Cynthia Marie Parlow Cone (born May 8, 1978), née Cynthia Parlow, is an American soccer executive and president of the United States Soccer Federation. A former professional soccer player, she is a two-time Olympic Gold medalist and 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup champion. As head coach in 2013, Parlow Cone led the Portland Thorns FC to clinch the inaugural National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) championship title.
Parlow Cone previously served on U.S. Soccer's Referee Committee, Medical Advisory Committee, Appeals Committee, the Athletes’ Council, and Youth Task Force. She was elected as interim Vice President of U.S. Soccer on February 16, 2019 and re-elected for a four-year term in February 2020. In March 2020, she was named President after the previous president suddenly resigned.
Born to Larry and Josephine Parlow, Cindy was raised in Memphis, Tennessee, where she attended Germantown High School. At age 13, she attended a local autograph signing by U.S. national team head coach Anson Dorrance after the U.S. won the inaugural 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup in China. After the signing, she told her mother, "I'm going to play for that man some day." Four years later, she decided to graduate high school early and attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she played for the Tar Heels women's soccer team led by Dorrance. She later noted, "I wasn’t really your typical teenager; I was very intense and very focused. I definitely wasn’t an adult when I was 17, but I felt like coming to UNC was a great decision for me in all aspects because I felt like I was fully supported and pushed to become not only a better soccer player but a better person."
University of North Carolina Tar Heels: 1995–98
|Cindy Parlow Cone Finds Out She's Been Elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, from National Soccer Hall of Fame, Retrieved March 23, 2020.|
At Chapel Hill, Parlow was a four-time All-American and helped the team win the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship three times and the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season four times. She was a two-time Hermann Trophy winner in 1997 and 1998 (the second two-time winner following Mia Hamm). She was named the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1999.
Following her freshman season, Parlow was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year. Her 19 goals and 13 assists (51 points) led Soccer News and Soccer America to name her National Freshman Player of the Year as well. The following year, she was a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy after scoring 15 goals and providing 11 assists. She scored the game-winning goal in the NCAA Division 1 Championship game against Connecticut. The same year, she was named the Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament. Soccer News named her National Player of the Year. As a junior, she was awarded the Hermann Trophy and MAC Sports Foundation National Player of the Year Award. Soccer Times Magazine named her National Player of the Year as well.
During her senior season, Parlow scored 21 goals, including 7 game-winners, and recorded 11 assists. She was awarded the 1998 Hermann Trophy and 1998 Missouri Athletic Club Foundation Award as the National Collegiate Women’s Soccer Player of the Year. Soccer News Magazine named her Player of the Year. She was awarded the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and named to the All-ACC first team for the fourth consecutive year.
|41st Most Memorable Women’s World Cup™ Moment: Cindy Parlow Cone’s Diving Header, from Fox Soccer, Retrieved March 22, 2020.|
Parlow began training with the U.S. Women's National Team in March 1995. At age 17, she made her first appearance and scored two goals in a friendly against Russia on January 14, 1996. Parlow played in all six games of the team's 1999 World Cup victory, the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics, as well as the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup. At age 18, she was the youngest player to win an Olympic gold medal and FIFA Women's World Cup title.
1996 Atlanta Olympics
Parlow was the youngest player on the American squad to compete at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The '96 Olympics marked the first time that women's soccer (football) was played at the international tournament. Led by head coach Tony DiCicco (the team's former goalkeeper coach at the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup), the U.S. advanced to the semifinal after defeating Denmark and Sweden and tying with China in the group stage matches. After defeating Norway 2–1 in the semi-final, the U.S. faced China for a second time in the final. During the final in Athens, Georgia, 76,481 spectators were in the stands to watch the United States defeat China (a new world record for the most spectators to attend a women's sporting event).
1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
Parlow played in all six games of the team's 1999 World Cup victory and scored two goals. During the July 4 semifinal match against Brazil in front of 73,123 spectators, she scored a header goal in the fifth minute of the match.
After 90 minutes of scoreless regulation time and 30 minutes of sudden death, the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final was decided by a penalty shootout between the U.S. and China. The five American players to take penalty kicks converted while China missed one attempt so that the U.S. won. The final surpassed the 1996 Atlanta Olympic final as the most-attended women's sports event, with more than 90,000 people filling the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. It held the record until 2014 for the largest U.S. television audience for a soccer match with 17,975,000 viewers. As of July 2015[update], it ranks third following the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup (25,400,000 viewers) and 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage match between the U.S. men's team and Portugal (18,220,000 viewers). A week later, the team met President Clinton at the White House and flew with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton on Air Force Two to Cape Canaveral.
2000 Sydney Olympics
Parlow finished 2000 with 19 goals, the highest on the national team. In June, she scored a hat-trick against both New Zealand and Canada during the Pacific Cup in Australia. In August, she scored a brace against Russia during a 9-1 win.
2003 FIFA Women's World Cup
In August 2003, Parlow was named to the roster for the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup by head coach April Heinrichs. During the team's group stage match against Sweden, she scored a header goal off a corner kick from Mia Hamm in the 36th minute of the U.S.' 3-1 win. The U.S. faced Nigeria in their second group stage match. After Parlow was fouled by the Nigerian captain, Hamm scored on the awarded penalty kick to open the game's scoring. Parlow scored the U.S.' second goal in the 47th minute. The U.S. eventually won 5-0. Parlow, along with fellow starters Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy and Shannon Boxx were rested during the team's final group stage match: a 3-0 win against North Korea before advancing to the quarter-finals where they faced long-time rival Norway. Parlow started the match and was subbed off for Tiffeny Milbrett in the 72nd minute of the 1-0 win. The U.S. was defeated 3-0 by Germany in the semi-finals. During the first half of third-place match against Canada, Parlow sustained a concussion and was removed from the match. The U.S. went on to win 3-1 to secure third place at the tournament.
2004 Athens Olympics
On July 30, 2006, Parlow announced her retirement from international play, citing post-concussion syndrome. She concluded her career with 158 caps (the ninth most in United States Women's National team history) and 75 goals (fifth most).
Atlanta Beat: 2001–03
Parlow was one of the twenty Founding Players of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), the first professional women's soccer league in the United States, and captained the Atlanta Beat. She led the team to the playoffs in each of the league's three seasons of operation (2001–2003).
During the 2001 WUSA season, Parlow's five goals ranked first on the Beat and her seven assists ranked first. During a match against the Philadelphia Charge on May 24, 2001, she scored a goal in the second minute of the match. On June 17, she scored a brace against the San Diego Spirit, including the game-winning goal to win 3-2. She earned the league's first red card during the same match after an altercation with Julie Foudy. Foudy was given a yellow card. She scored another brace on July 22 to defeat the New York Power 2-0. The league folded in September - five days before the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup in the United States (originally slated for China, but moved due to the SARS epidemic.
Atlanta finished the regular season in first place with a 10–4–7 record securing a spot in the playoffs. During the semi-final match against the Philadelphia Charge, Parlow scored an equalizer in the 79th minute. During the second overtime period, she scored the league's first golden goal to advance the Beat to the Founders Cup championship match where they were defeated in penalty shots by the San Jose CyberRays in front of 21,078 fans at Foxboro Stadium in Boston.
During the 2002 WUSA season, Parlow scored five goals and provided four assists ranking third on the team with 14 points. After playing the first two games of the season, Parlow was forced to miss the third due to FIFA rules and national team commitments. She scored a goal against the Boston Breakers despite playing with a broken nose suffered in the fifth minute of the game. Playing against the New York Power on June 9, she scored a goal and recorded an assist to Charmaine Hooper lifting the team to a 2-0 win. The Beat finished the regular season in fourth place with a 11–9d=1 record and advanced to the Playoffs. They were defeated 2-1 by the Carolina Courage in the semi-finals.
Parlow returned to the Beat for the 2003 WUSA season. On June 23, she scored a hat-trick against the Philadelphia Charge ending a three-game winless streak. The Beat finished in second place with a 9–4–8 record two points behind Boston. They defeated the San Diego Spirit during the semifinals and advanced for the second time to the WUSA Founders Cup where they faced the Washington Freedom led by Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach. The Freedom won 2–1.
North Carolina Tar Heels, 2007–2012
Cone was an assistant coach for the North Carolina Tar Heels from 2007 to 2012. In 2012, she led practices while head coach Anson Dorrance spent time with his wife who was ill. He noted, "I had no issue telling the world she was my secret weapon." As of 2020[update], the season marked the last time the Tar Heels won the national championship (despite being the most winningest team in the history of collegiate soccer).
Portland Thorns FC, 2013
In December 2012, Parlow Cone was hired as the head coach for Portland Thorns FC ahead of the inaugural season of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). She became the first head coach to win an NWSL Championship, as Thorns FC beat Western New York Flash 2–0 in the first ever championship game August 31, 2013. She resigned as head coach on December 5, 2013, citing personal reasons, particularly the desire of her and her husband, Portland Timbers director of sports science John Cone (who also resigned around the same time), to be together more.
Cone served on the coaching staff for the under-14 and under-15 girls’ national teams from 2010-2013. In 2015, she coached at the Berkshire Soccer Academy for Girls along with her former teammates Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Tisha Venturini, and Brandi Chastain. In 2019, she was Director of Coaching for NCFC Youth, the youth division of North Carolina FC.
Sports executive career
Parlow Cone served on U.S. Soccer's Referee Committee, Medical Advisory Committee, Appeals Committee, the Athletes’ Council, and Youth Task Force. She was elected as Vice President of U.S. Soccer on February 16, 2019, filling the vacancy created when Carlos Cordeiro became President in February 2018. She was re-elected Vice President in February 2020 for a full four-year term.
In early March 2020, Parlow Cone was named President of U.S. Soccer after Carlos Cordeiro suddenly resigned after a growing outcry from players, board members, supporters and sponsors over assertions made in court documents. One of her first acts as president was to apologize for a recent legal brief and "offensive assertions made by the Federation that do not represent our core values." She will face re-election for President in February 2021.
In popular culture
Following the success of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, Parlow and her teammates were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the Sportswomen of the Year. In 2005, she was featured in the film, Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team. In 2008, she was featured in Winning Isn't Everything, The Untold Story of a Soccer Dynasty, a documentary film about the success of the Tar Heels women's soccer program and its players. In 2013, she was featured in the ESPN series, Nine for IX: The '99ers. In 2015, she was featured in HBO's Real Sports.
In 2015, Parlow worked with the U.S. Department of State's Empowering Women and Girls through Sports Initiative to work with Jordanian under-17 national soccer team during a 10-day exchange program. She has been a leader in raising awareness about concussion safety. In December 2018, she was a presenter at the Draw for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
In 2007, she married John Cone, a former soccer player and coach.
- List of women's footballers with 100 or more international caps
- List of FIFA Women's World Cup goalscorers
- List of Olympic medalists in football
- List of 1996 Summer Olympics medal winners
- List of 2000 Summer Olympics medal winners
- List of 2004 Summer Olympics medal winners
- List of United States women's national soccer team hat-tricks
- List of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Olympians
- History of the United States women's national soccer team
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