The North American Soccer League announced this afternoon that they have hired former NFL Europe President and AEG Senior Vice President Bill Peterson as their new Commissioner effective immediately.
Peterson comes to the league with a hefty background in executive sports management with over 20 years’ experience working for organizations like the NFL, AEG, Centerplate and more recently, the UFL.
Here is the official NASL press release:
MIAMI, Fla. (November 27, 2012) – The resurgent North American Soccer League (NASL) will kick off its third season in the spring of 2013 with a new Commissioner at the helm. Veteran sports executive Bill Peterson will lead the expanding nine-team NASL into a new era of soccer, while establishing the league on the sporting landscape.
Peterson, who will assume his role immediately, is no stranger to North American soccer having worked closely with MLS teams when he was the Senior Vice President of AEG Sports and Managing Director of the Home Depot Center from 2000 to 2006. Peterson helped oversee the management of numerous MLS teams and the development of soccer-specific stadiums across the country.
“We conducted a global search and an intense interview process to ensure we selected the right Commissioner for the NASL as we enter this next important growth phase for our league,” commented Chairman of the NASL Board of Governors Aaron Davidson.
“Bill’s diverse breadth of management experience in the US and abroad at governing bodies, leagues, teams, stadia and one of the leading hospitality companies gives him the ability to lead by example and align everyone’s interests in order to achieve our individual and collective goals. With Commissioner Peterson, we look forward to accelerating the positive financial results of our existing teams and continuing to usher in new teams in strategic markets with owners who embrace our vision and have the wherewithal to succeed at the highest possible level.”
Peterson said: “There is an opportunity here to cement the NASL as a league that can thrive and expand while providing compelling soccer for the game’s fans.
“The roots of the NASL triggered a soccer explosion in North American in the 1970s and I am delighted to be leading this new chapter as we take the league and its teams forward into an exciting future.”
As Peterson becomes the league’s next Commissioner, one of the iconic teams of the early days of the NASL, the New York Cosmos, will return to the league in 2013 and future expansion teams have been announced for Virginia and the Canadian capital Ottawa. The league is poised to announce season-openers for the 2013 season when the Tampa Bay Rowdies will defend the NASL title having dramatically defeated Minnesota Stars FC on penalty kicks to lift the 2012 championship.
Most recently Peterson provided advisory and event services to a variety of clients in Canada and the United States through his own firm Solve4. Peterson is the Chairman of the USA Cycling Board of Directors and a member of the USPRO Cycling Board of Trustees and served briefly as COO of the UFL. He was the Executive Vice President of Centerplate, the North American market leader for managing food and beverage, retail, restaurant, and events in sports facilities, convention centers, and entertainment complexes. He spent six years working with a variety of teams, facilities and sporting events while Senior Vice President at AEG in Los Angeles. Peterson spent almost a decade working for the National Football League where he became the President of NFL Europe having been the General Manager of the league’s Amsterdam Admirals.