Former Wasserman exec Wilson takes over as CEO of US Soccer

March 25 – The US Soccer Federation (USSF) has appointed long time sports executive Will Wilson (pictured) as the organisation’s next CEO and secretary general. His immediate task will be to navigate US Soccer through its legal stand-off with the American women’s national team. 

Wilson, who succeeds Dan Flynn, worked for the last eight years as executive vice president for football at Wasserman Media Group and spent four years working for Major League Soccer and its marketing arm Soccer United Marketing.

“I’m very excited to be joining U.S Soccer,” said Wilson. “I have always admired the Federation from afar, and have long felt that the U.S. Soccer crest is one of the best brands in the business. There is nothing like harnessing our nation’s support behind our Women’s and Men’s National Teams, and I see significant upside in our ability to work with our Membership to grow participation levels, increase our commercial business and drive our ability to compete on the field at the highest level.

“U.S. 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. I’m incredibly energized and excited about the work in front of us to continue striving to become America’s preeminent sport.”

Wilson has also enjoyed a long relationship with MLS commissioner Don Garber. In the 90s, the pair worked together for NFL Europe.  “I have known Will Wilson for quite some time,” said Garber in a statement. “He is highly respected throughout the sports business industry and is the right person at the right time to help guide U.S. Soccer. I have confidence that he will be a collaborative and thoughtful leader and a great partner with new U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone, as the Federation manages through a multitude of crucial issues and opportunities.”

However, Wilson’s track record with both the MLS and SUM leaves US Soccer and him open to strong criticism as the relationship between those three organisations has often been perceived to be too cozy. In 2018, Kathy Carter’s candidacy to become the new president of US Soccer ended because of her presidency of SUM.

Wilson arrives at a precarious moment for US Soccer. Last week, Carlos Cordeiro resigned as the organisation’s president following condemnation of comments made in the legal defense of the equal pay lawsuit by members of America’s national women’s team. Parlow Cone replaced Cordeiro.

“I don’t think a trial is good for either party or for soccer, both in this country or internationally,” said Parlow Cone in a media call on Tuesday. “Obviously, our women’s team is the best team in the world and I’m hopeful that we can find a resolution before this goes to trial.”

“We are hopeful that we can schedule (a talk) very soon. I think it’s challenging right now, with the backdrop of coronavirus and because I’m a big believer in getting people in the same room and finding resolutions. In the meantime, we may have to settle with jumping on phone calls.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1594029655labto1594029655ofdlr1594029655owedi1594029655sni@o1594029655fni1594029655