William Wilson has extensive experience in soccer and the NFL. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer)
CHICAGO – William Wilson Monday was named the new Chief Executive Officer and secretary general of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
He succeeded Dan Flynn, who resigned last year after 19 years in the position. The USSF conducted a multi-month search for the new man in charge.
Wilson, who has known with MLS commissioner Don Garber for quite a while, has worked in Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing.
With 29 years of leadership and experience in the international and domestic sports industry – at the agency, league and team levels – Wilson, 52, brings a track record of developing and implementing strategies in all aspects of the business.
He joins U.S. Soccer from global sports agency Wasserman, where he served as executive vice president and co-head of football the last eight years. He will begin in the role on March 30 and will eventually relocate to Chicago.
“We are thrilled Will is joining U.S. Soccer as our CEO,” said U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow said in a statement. “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 NFL representation practice with the signing of Andrew Luck, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft, whose 2016 contract extension was then the largest in league history. The division has grown to represent more than 100 NFL players with agents located across the country. As an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor, Wilson has a deep understanding of labor issues as well as working within the constructs of a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Prior to Wasserman, Wilson served as executive vice president of international business and special events for MLS and SUM from 2008-12. Fluent in Spanish, he oversaw the League’s international game business.
“I’m very excited to be joining U.S Soccer,” Wilson said in a statement. “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.”
MLS commissioner Don Garber, a member of the USSF board of directors, most likely played a promiment role in getting Wilson an interview and perhaps hired. Garber and Wilson both worked in NFL Europe.
“I have known Will Wilson for quite some time,” Garber said 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.”
During his time with MLS and SUM, Wilson managed all international business relationships, including FC Barcelona,Manchester United, the Concacaf Gold Cup, and the game partnership with the Mexican Football Federation. Wilson’s group also oversaw MLS’s marquee events, including its annual MLS All-Star game and MLS Cup.
Wilson brings an additionally varied background, including positions with the Arena Football League, the Champ Car World Series (né CART), and the NFL. Wilson served as Managing Director of NFL Mexico and oversaw all aspects of the league’s business in Latin America.
He also served in public relations roles with the NFL Europe League Frankfurt Galaxy and Scottish Claymores for nine years before being promoted to general manager of the Claymores in 1998. Born in London, England, Wilson graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where he was a four-year varsity athlete in American football. Additionally, he holds an MBA from the Tecnológico de Monterrey Graduate School of Business (EGADE) in Monterrey, Mexico.
“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 in a statement. “I’m incredibly energized and excited about the work in front of us to continue striving to become America’s preeminent sport.”