Chris Wingert has a new challenge. (Photo courtesy of MLS)

Roc Nation Sports International Thursday announced the hiring of former MLS defender Chris Wingert to lead its expansion into North America as director of soccer, North America.

Wingert, who played at the top level of MLS for 14 years, announced his retirement as a professional soccer player in 2018 and moved into player representation shortly after.

During his notable career, Wingert played for Colorado Rapids, New York City FC, Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake. In  2009, RSL won the MLS Cup.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Roc Nation Sports International at such a pivotal moment for the agency and I’m grateful to Juan, Michael and Alan for trusting me to lead the charge in continuing the incredible work they’ve done in the sport across Europe. MLS pre-season is underway and I can’t wait to get started,” Wingert said in a statement.

Juan Perez, founder and president of Roc Nation Sports, and Michael Yormark, president of Roc Nation Sports International and Co-CEO of Roc Nation Unified, opened the London office in September 2019. They secured some of the top athletes in global sport. Alan Redmond was added to the team in 2020 as head of football. Redmond has recruited some of the most gifted prospects in European football at the start of their careers.

RNSI includes a formidable roster of international footballers including Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku, Bayern Munich and U.S. men’s national team’s and Hoffenheim’s Chris Richards, Borussia Dortmund’s Axel Witsel and Crystal Palace’s Nathan Ferguson.

Redmond said he saw the addition of Wingert as a key component in Roc Nation’s ongoing expansion strategy.

“This generation of U.S. talent is truly special,” he said in a statement. “Teams like Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus and Barcelona all have U.S. players on their rosters and this trend is only going to increase. At the same time, MLS has developed into a strong and competitive league that is respected globally. North America is a key market for Roc Nation, and I’m delighted to welcome Chris Wingert to our family.”