North American Soccer League Names David Downs as Commissioner
The North American Soccer League announced Monday morning that former USA Bid Committee Executive Director David Downs has accepted the position of commissioner for the first-year league. Downs will assume his new role with the NASL on April 4th, the same week the league starts its league play.
Downs joins the NASL after serving as Executive Director of the USA Bid Committee, the organization created by the U.S. Soccer Federation to participate in the bidding process to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 and 2022. Prior to that, he spent more than 30 years in the broadcast industry as an executive with both ABC Sports and Univision Communications. During his broadcast career, Downs was instrumental in the successful negotiations to secure the U.S. television rights to every World Cup from USA ‘94, through Brazil ‘14.
“I’m excited to hit the ground running with the NASL as we work to elevate second division soccer in North America and play an active role in taking soccer to the next level in the region,” said Downs. “We plan to work closely with the fans, players, administrators, other leagues and everyone else involved in this beautiful game to build up the NASL at a league and local market level.”
“The combination of David’s experience in sports television including soccer, his recent experience leading the US World Cup bid and his passion for and understanding of soccer globally and domestically uniquely position him to lead the NASL,” said Aaron Davidson, NASL CEO and member of the NASL Board of Directors and Executive Committee. “David has been directly involved in the growth of soccer in this country and thus appreciates the critical role that the NASL will play in the continued growth of the sport.”
Downs was born in Leiden, Netherlands. His Dutch mother and American father moved to the U.S. when he was a child. His grandfather played for 1st division club HVV (Haagse Voetbal Vereniging, Dutch for Hague Football Club) in the early 1900s. Downs has been involved with soccer in America for several decades: as a college player, a licensed youth coach, and as the parent of two soccer-playing children. He currently serves on the board of the USSF Development Academy club FC Westchester and is also an Arsenal fan after an uncle brought him to a match at Highbury in the early 70s.