U.S. Soccer named long-time sports executive and businessman William Wilson the federation’s new CEO and secretary general.
Wilson will take on the new role with U.S. Soccer after spending the past eight years as the executive vice president and co-head of football for the Wasserman agency, a group based out of Los Angeles. He will begin his role on March 30.
Wilson’s selection comes less than two weeks after the resignation of former president Carlos Cordeiro following international backlash over sexist language used in a federation filing as part of the equal pay lawsuit filed by women’s national team players.
“We are thrilled Will is joining U.S. Soccer as our CEO,” new U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said. “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.”
Wilson helped launch Wasserman’s presence in the NFL by representing Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft and negotiating a contract extension in 2016 that at the time was the highest in the history of the league. Since his involvement, Wasserman has grown to represent more than 100 NFL athletes. He also brings experience in labor issues after serving as an NFLPA contract adviser.
Despite his extensive background working in football, Wilson also brings experience in soccer. He previously worked for MLS, serving as the executive vice president of international business and special events for the league and Soccer United Marketing (SUM) from 2008 to 2012.
During his time with MLS, Wilson focused on expanding the league internationally. He managed all of the league’s international business relationships, which included global clubs such as FC Barcelona and Manchester United and major tournaments such as the Concacaf Gold Cup.
Wilson is also fluent in Spanish, which helped him to negotiate a game partnership with the Mexican Football Federation, along with other major events such as the MLS All-Star game and the MLS Cup.
“I have known Will Wilson for quite some time,” MLS commissioner Don Garber. “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.”
The CEO position has been open since September 2019, when former CEO Dan Flynn stepped down from his position after a 19-year career with U.S. Soccer.
Wilson’s appointment comes at a critical time for U.S. Soccer as the entire sports industry faces uncertainty due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The federation previously canceled all matches through the month of April to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control regarding large group gatherings.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics potentially being postponed for a year, Wilson will be challenged from the onset of his tenure as CEO.
“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,” Wilson said. “I’m incredibly energized and excited about the work in front of us to continue striving to become America’s preeminent sport.”