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Jurgen Mainka, former director of marketing and communications for the 2022 U.S. World Cup bid committee, has joined the New York Red Bulls as vice president of communications. Mainka will start with the club in mid-February.
Mainka will report directly to Red Bulls Managing Director Erik Stover and will oversee the team’s four-person communications team. According to Stover, the club waited to fill the position, which was opened with the departure of Andrew McGowan in March, until the end of the 2010 season. Stover said Mainka’s international connections from the World Cup bid and his language skills — he speaks German and Spanish fluently — set him apart from other candidates.
Jurgen Mainka’s language skills and international connections from the World Cup bid effort and will benefit the Red Bulls.
“It doesn’t get any better for us. Red Bull is an Austrian company, so [Mainka’s] language skills can help make sure nothing is lost in translation,” Stover said. “And the Hispanic and in particular Mexican community is becoming a bigger focus for us, especially with us bringing on [Mexican star] Rafa Márquez.”
Mainka, 39, joined USA Soccer in April 2009 and established an internal and external communications strategy for the 2022 bid committee. He was integral in helping the campaign net 1.2 million online signatures, and helped create the bid booklet that was presented to the FIFA executive committee. Before the bid, Mainka was an account director with Octagon Worldwide from 2007 to ’09 and was the senior director of communications and international business for the Colorado Rapids from 2003 to ’07. He started his MLS career in 2001 as the director of media relations for the New England Revolution.
Mainka, who hails from Mexico City, said he believes the Red Bulls have a sizable opportunity to reach out to fans of international soccer within the New York/New Jersey market.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to promote soccer in the biggest media market in the world,” he said. “Fifteen years ago I could not have brought my daughter to see soccer at Red Bull Arena. Today, if [fans] want to bring their kid to experience soccer live, they have an unbelievable place to bring them to.”