The United Soccer League announced on Thursday the departure of President Jake Edwards after almost a decade with the organization. | Photo courtesy Matt May / United Soccer League
TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League announced on Thursday the departure of Jake Edwards, concluding a remarkable 10-year tenure, including eight as President, during which time the USL evolved into one of the most extensive sporting organizations in North America.
Working closely with USL CEO Alec Papadakis and the rest of the executive team, Edwards helped guide the USL’s strategic transformation into a modern, internationally recognized soccer organization with seven national leagues, 36 professional clubs, and nearly 200 pre-professional teams across the United States. This extraordinary growth and increased sophistication have coincided with unprecedented levels of on-field quality and commercial success across the USL ecosystem.
“All of us at the USL are grateful for the contributions that Jake Edwards has made to growing not only the USL, but also soccer in America,” said Papadakis. “When we outlined our vision for the future of the USL more than a decade ago, Jake proved to be the right leader at the right time to guide our organization through this transformative period. Jake will always be part of the USL family.”
Edwards first joined the USL in 2013 as the Executive Vice President before being named President in 2015. As part of a greater vision for the USL and its place in the North American soccer landscape, Edwards helped manage the USL’s rebrand in 2015, and the structural transformation in 2019 that established the USL Championship, League One and League Two aligned as the three tiers of the men’s senior league structure.
In recent years, the USL has built the USL Academy to foster player development and created an unprecedented women’s soccer network that includes the pre-professional USL W League and the USL Super League – a new professional women’s division set to launch in 2024.
In 2020, Edwards provided leadership for the leagues and clubs through the pandemic-affected season and through the historic Collective Bargaining Agreements for both the USL Championship and League One.
USL President Jake Edwards presents the USL Championship trophy to Orange County SC captain Michael Orozco at the 2021 USL Championship Final at Al Lang Stadium. | Photo courtesy Matt May / United Soccer League
“The USL has played a significant role in the dramatic growth of the sport across the nation over the past 10 years,” Edwards said. “It has been an enormous honor to help lead that growth during my tenure alongside a fantastic executive team at USL HQ, and over the next decade, I believe the USL will continue to shape the future of the sport at all levels.”
“I am so appreciative of the team owners, executives and club staff at each club who work tirelessly to create such strong, community-based organizations, supported so passionately by millions of fans each year across our leagues, as well as of all the players and coaches who raise the standard of play every season to make our leagues among the most competitive in the Concacaf region.”
As part of an ongoing transition plan, the USL has promoted Jeremy Alumbaugh to USL Championship President and Lee O’Neill to USL League One President. The senior executive team, including USL CEO Alec Papadakis, COO Justin Papadakis, USL Super League President Amanda Vandervort, Chief Commercial Officer Court Jeske, Deputy COO Dan Holman, Chief Financial Officer Karen Gittens, Chief Marketing Officer Greg Lalas, Executive Vice President of Media Michael Cohen, Alumbaugh and O’Neill will lead the USL as it continues to shape the future of soccer in the United States.