METUCHEN, N.J. – United Women’s Soccer announced Saturday that Stephanie Cleaves has been named executive director.

Cleaves has been working with the league in various capacities since its inception in 2015. She designed the UWS logo and most recently served as marketing director.

She will work closely with league commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. Her full-time role will involve executing a unified approach to strategic marketing for the league, including expansion outreach and brand development.

“Since it’s inception in 2016, Stephanie Cleaves has been an integral part of the development and growth of UWS,” Ferrara said in a statement. “From player to team staff to league administrator, she embodies the mission of UWS to provide opportunities and role models for female athletes. I look forward to working hand in hand with Stephanie on growing the women’s game.”

Cleaves has a life-long history with soccer culminating in playing for the Honduran women’s national team and Lancaster Inferno, which competes in the UWS East and is the two-time defending conference champions. Her current coaching career at the youth club and Olympic Developmental Program levels began as an assistant coach at the collegiate level and associate head coach of Lancaster Inferno.

“As we embark on the continued growth of the support of women’s soccer, today we are proud to select Stephanie Cleaves as our newly appointed Executive Director,” UWS Chief Operation Officer Roberto Aguas said. “Stephanie has shown a tremendous focus and unwavering dedication to the evolution of the UWS these last couple of years. I look forward to having Stephanie work closely with me and the executive team as we continue to build a stronger platform for women in the sport of soccer.”

Cleaves, the co-founder of ddZ Digital Marketing also brings a strategic approach to branding & marketing, having worked in the field for the past 10 years. The combination of her soccer knowledge and business and marketing acumen make her a valuable asset to the UWS organization.

“I am honored to take on the role as executive director of United Women’s Soccer,” Cleaves said. “I realize the league’s tremendous potential in advancing women’s soccer, and I look forward to putting forth everything I have to give it the attention it deserves. Every decision we make as an organization needs to stay inline with our brand strategy in order to make the overall vision of the league a reality. We want to become the preeminent pro-am women’s soccer league in North America. I can’t wait to help make this happen!”