What do you do at Playmakers?
We’re bringing the foremost believers, creators, and experts in American soccer together to develop the architecture of the sports’ future in the U.S. Technically, that means acquiring and integrating American soccer companies while hiring and empowering the industry’s best and brightest. My partner Ryan Mooney and I are finding the team we’ll put out on the pitch to help advance American soccer.
On your path to Playmakers.
I spent over four years at Generation adidas International, finishing as Chief Innovation Officer. I met our founder Richie Graham there at an adidas MLS activation I was managing. While my skill set and aptitude for the industry were a key interest for him, I know that my passion for the sport in the U.S. and my history starting supporter groups were a point of differentiation. After hearing and seeing Richie’s commitment to being a positive agent of change for soccer in America, I packed up a Honda with whatever I could fit and moved to Philadelphia. After three years in Richie’s investment firm Striker Partners, I split off to start Playmakers with Ryan Mooney. Nearly four years in, I’m astounded by how even my lofty expectations for the scale and scope of the project have been surpassed.
On what inspires you.
The process itself. The failures, the self-doubt, the development of self-knowledge and the subsequent challenges that follow any success. I’m not inspired by resolutions or affirmations or platitudes. It’s specifically the complexity of the industry and the incredible ambitions of our organization that is so inspiring to me. When have we “Advance(d) American Soccer?” I’m not sure, I don’t think there’s ever a point we can sit back and say we’re done. It’s a Sisyphean task. I love that.
On ways Playmakers is innovating.
I think the divergent packaging of our products for the American soccer player and fan are exceptionally innovative, and will impel us to adapt and grow to remain relevant to the American soccer community. We recognize and celebrate the diversity of the American soccer community and find it vain and naive to believe we can present convergent solutions. What makes the American soccer community so special is how inclusive and heterogeneous it is — we hope our activity can highlight these attributes.
On being "unapologetically American."
The American soccer community has always grappled with the perception of the sport being imported. Being "unapologetically American" in our approach means to engage that perception head on. Embracing and elevating our unique stories and characters, histories and perspectives rather than hoping to replicate the successes of others…that can be an inflection point for us. It means being vulnerable, but also a little stubborn, and romanticizing the growing pains of American soccer as a major part of the allure. I personally love that American soccer isn’t solved, that we don’t just inherit the culture from generations past. Our generation is defining that culture now, and I find participating in that galvanizing.
On how you “elevate the American soccer brand."
Amplify the right voices, on the right platforms. No one should be a monolith, prescribing and pushing a singular perspective. Rather, a collection of talented and empowered individuals speaking directly to unique audiences will engender connection with the message. If we are passionate, empathetic, and transparent, we can create a more inclusive community attractive to a broader swath of fans. We can’t just be an industry catering to a narrow audience, for us to accomplish this objective we also need to be in the fan conversion industry.