Veteran soccer and broadcast executive to lead NASL
MIAMI, FL (March 28, 2011) - The North American Soccer League (NASL) is pleased to announce the appointment of David Downs as the league's first Commissioner. Downs will assume his new role with the NASL on April 4th.
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."
Under Downs' leadership, the USA Bid Committee achieved several milestones while increasing awareness and interest in the sport domestically. "From the outset our mission was to help raise the profile of the sport here while meeting or exceeding FIFA's stringent technical demands and I am confident that we succeeded in doing so," Downs stated. Prior to serving as the Executive Director of the USA Bid Committee, Downs was President of Univision Sports. In that role, Downs played an integral part in acquiring the television rights and supervising the production of sports programming for all three networks in the Univision family.
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 also currently serves on the board of the USSF Development Academy club FC Westchester.
"The stars continue to align for the new NASL. 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."
The Inaugural NASL season kicks off on April 9th with all eight teams in action. The top six teams at the end of the regular season will advance to the playoffs, with the top two finishers receiving a first round playoff bye. Tickets are available for all eight NASL teams by visiting NASL.com on the web.
ABOUT THE NASL: The North American Soccer League is the Division II men’s outdoor professional soccer league in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The NASL member teams are: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, FC Tampa Bay, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, NSC Minnesota Stars, Montreal Impact (joining MLS in 2012), Puerto Rico Islanders, and the San Antonio Scorpions FC (beginning play in 2012). For more information about the NASL, please visit NASL.com. For real time updates, follow the NASL on Twitter at Twitter.com/NASLOfficial or Facebook at www.Facebook.com/NASLfans.