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US Soccer names experienced agency executive Wilson as new CEO

The United States Soccer Federation has named veteran sports business executive Will Wilson as the organization’s new chief executive and secretary general.

Wilson replaces Dan Flynn, who stepped down from the role in September 2019. He will officially begin in the role on March 30 and eventually relocate to Chicago, where US Soccer is based.

The 52-year-old previously worked for global sports agency Wasserman, where he served as executive vice president and co-head of (American) football for the last eight years. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president of international business and special events for Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing from 2008-12.

He has also worked for the Arena Football League, Champ Car World Series and the National Football League, where he worked with MLS commissioner Don Garber at NFL Europe in the late 1990s.

The hiring of a former MLS and SUM executive is bound to raise further questions about the closeness of the business relationships between the two organizations and 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. 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.”

Wilson will report to Cindy Parlow Cone, who recently assumed the role of US Soccer president following the resignation of Carlos Cordeiro over the gender discrimination lawsuit with members of the US women’s national team.

Indeed, he joins at a time of serious turmoil at the federation, which has included employee unrest, executive departures, and numerous lawsuits.

“We are thrilled Will is joining US Soccer as our CEO,” said 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.”

Garber tweeted: “I have known Will Wilson for quite some time. He is highly respected throughout the sports business industry and is the right person at the right time to help guide US Soccer. I have confidence that he will be a collaborative and thoughtful leader and a great partner with new US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, as the Federation manages through a multitude of crucial issues and opportunities.”