HARRISON, N.J. – NJ/NY Gotham FC announced that the addition of two sports executives are joining the club’s front office effective immediately.
Yael Averbuch West was unveiled as interim general manager and head of soccer operations, and Kristin Bernert as the club’s interim head of business operations. Bernert is the co-founder of KB2 Sports.
Averbuch West will be supported by interim assistant GM Stephanie Lee, formerly general manager of Utah Royals FC, at the National Women’s Soccer League club.
“Yael was our club’s first ever college draft pick, and ownership is delighted to welcome her back to the family,” Gotham FC Chair Tammy Murphy said in a statement. “She’s dedicated her life to playing and growing this sport and has excelled at every level. We’re confident she’ll continue her success with us and help further our transformation into one of the premier women’s soccer clubs in the world.”
Yael Averbuch West (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
Born in Montclair, N.J., Averbuch West was the first college draft pick in Gotham FC (then Sky Blue) history in 2009. That same year she helped the team win the Women’s Professional Soccer championship. She make 26 appearances for the U.S. women’s national team. She played professional soccer for more than 10 years with several clubs in the U.S. and overseas and is a current member of the U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council.
In 2017, Averbuch West helped create the NWSL Players Association and served as its president until he retirement as a player in 2019. In 2020, she was named executive director and served as the chairwoman of the NWSLPA’s Advisory Board. She is also the founder and CEO of the soccer training app Techne Futbol.
“I’m very excited about this role and look forward to supporting the continued success of Gotham FC on the field,” Averbuch West said in a statement. “This was my first professional club as a player and is my hometown club, so it’s close to my heart. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Kristin Bernert (Photo courtesy of Gotham FC)
Bernert has held several prominent roles in the sports industry. She worked for Madison Square Garden Sports from 2010-2020 and was promoted several times before being named executive vice president of operations. Bernert led business operations for the New York Knicks (NBA), New York Rangers (NHL), Counter Logic Gaming (e-sports), Knicks Gaming (NBA 2K), and the Westchester Knicks (G-League). From 2010-2016, she served as SVP of operations for the New York Liberty (WNBA), where she oversaw all business and basketball operations for the team.
“I’ve had the honor of leading New York’s most iconic sports franchises, and co-founded KB2 Sports with the mission of driving investment in women’s sports and female athletes to achieve equity in a very visible industry,” Bernert said in a statement. “Gotham FC is the epitome of the opportunity to do that given its location and very committed ownership. The NWSL is growing by leaps and bounds, and I’m looking forward to helping accelerate progress in the near term and laying the groundwork on strategy for a long-term head of business operations.”
Bernert’s resume also includes stints as the vice president of team marketing and business pperations at the NBA, president of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and vice president of the Detroit Shock.
“We’re excited to bring in such accomplished individuals while ownership continues its search for permeant successors,” Gotham FC vice chair Ed Nalbandian said in a statement. “Yael and Kristin are well-known and respected leaders whose motivational style will be welcomed by fans. They’ll form a dynamic team, and we cannot wait to see what they can accomplish together.”
The next Gotham FC home match is on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET against the North Carolina Courage at Red Bull Arena.