The United Soccer League today announced a set of senior leadership changes. Tim Holt has elected to resign as USL President to pursue other professional opportunities. Jake Edwards will succeed Holt as USL President.
“It is with profound sadness that the USL accepts Tim’s resignation,” CEO Alec Papadakis said. “Tim’s career with the USL has spanned more than 16 years. Most recently, he has been one of the key architects in the USL’s six-year-long transformation into the strong and stable organization that it is today. Tim’s unquestionable integrity and strong ethical standards are qualities admired not only by those in our organization, but throughout the soccer industry. His dedication and loyalty to the USL and his contribution to American soccer deserve not only our admiration, but national recognition as well.
“On behalf of Rob Hoskins, the entire USL family, and myself, we want to thank Tim for his service and wish him much success in his new professional endeavors. He will, however, always remain a part of the USL family.”
Edwards has served as Executive Vice President since 2014, overseeing the USL’s recent rebranding and serving an important role in the development of its strategic growth plan.
“Jake Edwards is a dynamic, young executive with exceptional vision and extraordinary drive to achieve outstanding results,” Papadakis said. “He is a proven leader with a broad understanding of U.S. soccer, both on the collegiate and professional levels. Armed with a professional soccer career, MBA, corporate experience with Octagon (a leading global sports marketing firm), and a deep understanding of the USL business, we are confident that Jake will successfully lead the USL into the next phase of operations and growth. He has been instrumental in developing Destination 2020, the League’s long-term strategic growth plan, and navigating the League through its rebranding. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding sports executive as Jake to complete a seamless President leadership transition.”
The USL is also pleased to welcome Justin Papadakis as President of Commercial Ventures for the newly-created Business Development Department. As head of this department, Justin Papadakis will be responsible for creating and developing business initiatives for the monetization of sponsorships, merchandising, digital rights, and other revenue-generating opportunities for the league properties and their clubs.
Prior to joining the USL, Justin Papadakis served as the Director of Business Development for one of North America’s largest real estate developers, DDR Corp., a publicly traded shopping center REIT (NYSE: DDR). In this role, he was responsible for overseeing all of DDR’s national and international prospecting efforts to identify and develop relationships with new and growing retailers, franchisors, and private equity firms. Previously, he served as Director of DDR’s Anchor Store Leasing Department, which completed more than 250 anchor leases and dispositions generating more than $100 million in annual operating income. Justin Papadakis joined DDR in 2008 and was a graduate of its Industry Leading Management Training Program. He holds a BA from Duke University and will receive his Juris Doctorate from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in May.
Mike Jacobs is assuming the position of Executive Vice President, Corporate Operations and League Development. In this role, Jacobs will provide strategic oversight to the professional, developmental and youth properties, both from an operational and a technical standpoint. Part of his responsibilities will also include managing the USL’s involvement and relationships with various U.S. soccer organizations. Before joining the USL, Jacobs enjoyed an outstanding collegiate coaching career as the head coach of the University of Evansville and as an assistant coach at Duke University. Jacobs also serves as the President of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and previously served as its Vice President of Events.
“Mike Jacobs brings to the USL a unique skill set, combining strong executive experience in the soccer industry with outstanding coaching experience,” Alec Papadakis said. “This is a rare blend of talents.”
The USL is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league on the field and the most sophisticated one off the field below Major League Soccer (MLS). Focused on league stability and franchise performance longevity, the USL features 24 teams in 2015, including expansion teams in Austin, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Louisville, Montreal, New York, Portland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, St. Louis, Toronto, Tulsa, and Vancouver. Through aggressive and deliberate growth in adding teams fully capable of meeting USL and US Soccer standards, the USL is building a robust, national professional soccer league in a format that promotes the benefits of regional league play. In 2013 the USL began a groundbreaking partnership with MLS to grow the professional game at all levels in the U.S. and Canada. In addition to league play, USL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. The USL is the longest-standing pro league affiliate member of US Soccer.