The beleaguered US Soccer Federation named longtime sports executive Will Wilson as Chief Executive Officer, taking over from Dan Flynn, who retired in September.
Wilson, 50, has worked the last eight years as head of the NFL division of Wasserman Media Group, where he served as the agent for his nephew, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Prior to spearheading the Wasserman agency’s NFL operations, Wilson spent four years working for Major League Soccer and its marketing arm Soccer United Marketing, eventually serving as executive vice president of international business and special events for SUM.
Wilson’s relationship with MLS commissioner and US federation board member Don Garber goes back further. The two worked for NFL Europe in the 1990s, with Wilson serving as general manager of the league’s Scottish Claymores.
Wilson also worked as the managing director of NFL Mexico.
“We are thrilled Will is joining US Soccer as our CEO,” said US Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “He brings an unrivaled set of experience and expertise to soccer in America.
“His global perspective, background in marketing and growing sporting events and extensive experience in the sports business will be invaluable in growing soccer at all levels.
“Soccer is the world’s game and Will is the perfect person to help us grow it to America’s game.”
Parlow Cone herself only took over the president’s office this month, stepping up from vice-president after president Carlos Cordeiro resigned amid a furore over what superstar Megan Rapinoe branded “blatant sexism” in the federation’s response to a gender discrimination lawsuit by the US women’s team.
The lawsuit, in which women’s national team players are seeking $66 million in back pay under the Equal Pay act and the Civil Rights Act, is set to go to trial on May 5.
The United States is also still trying to rebound from the failure of the men’s team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
“I’m very excited to be joining US Soccer,” Wilson said. “I have always admired the federation from afar and have long felt that the US Soccer crest is one of the best brands in the business.
“US Soccer has an amazing fan base and our supporters are waiting for us to get things back on track both on and off the field,” he said. “I’m incredibly energized and excited about the work in front of us to continue striving to become America’s preeminent sport.”