Tom Payne will end his two-year tenure at the end of this month. (Photo courtesy of Puerto Rico FC)
Club president Tom Payne has decided to leave Puerto Rico FC.
Payne will depart the North American Soccer League club when his contract expires at the end of this month.
He said Wednesday that he plans to pursue other professional opportunities.
Payne oversaw a team that was forced to play its final 10 games of the season on the mainland due to Hurricane Irma, which ravaged the Caribbean island in September. With virtually the entire population in dire need of everyday necessities and electricity being sparse, the team could not play out its schedule at home.
It was not immediately known what Payne’s departure would mean to the NASL team as Puerto Rico continues to rebuild after the hurricane.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that ownership gave me to be the first ever president of Puerto Rico FC, and to build this entire club from scratch,” he said in a statement. “It has been an amazing experience and one that I will always remember fondly, but I feel that now is the time to move on and search for the next challenge in my professional career.”
Named Puerto Rico FC’s president in October 2015 Payne is the former president of the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer. Prior to joining the Galaxy, Payne had been a sales manager at Disney Sports, where he helped develop some of the top youth soccer events in the world, including the Disney Soccer Showcase.
“I am proud of what we have achieved during a very difficult time in Puerto Rico,” he said in a press release. “Upon arrival, I stated that our goal was to be the most professional and respected sports organization on the island. I believe we have accomplished this and that I leave the organization in a great position to continue to build on the groundwork that has been laid out, and to continue to grow and to become a bigger and better organization in the future.
“I want to thank the players and staff of Puerto Rico FC, along with all of our partners, colleagues, and the fans for their support of this club and of me during my time here. I will never forget the time I have spent in Puerto Rico, and I look forward to following PRFC for many years to come.”