SBJ/Feb. 24-March 2, 2014/In Depth

MLS executives in the spotlight

Tim Bezbatchenko

General manager
Toronto FC

The 31-year-old Bezbatchenko is viewed as a potential Theo Epstein-type executive for Major League Soccer. Tim Leiweke hired him as general manager in the offseason after Bezbatchenko spent the last three seasons in the league office as the senior director of player relations and competition. Negotiating deals is his strength, and he has led a successful overhaul of Toronto’s roster. Since Toronto joined the league in 2007, the club has yet to qualify for the playoffs.

Atul Khosla

Chief operating officer
Chicago Fire

Khosla, who is responsible for all aspects of the club’s business, is overseeing the opening of the $15 million Chicago Fire Soccer Center this summer. The 140,000-square-foot facility has a pair of regulation-size turf soccer fields and the first air-supported dome in Chicago. The club expects the center will deepen its connections with the city’s youth and recreational leagues and players.

Brett Lashbrook

Chief operating officer
Orlando City SC

Last year, the former special assistant to Commissioner Don Garber was hired by Orlando City’s ownership to help secure an MLS expansion club and a deal for a downtown stadium. He succeeded at both. Now, Lashbrook is preparing the club for its MLS debut in 2015.

Maribeth Towers

Senior vice president, consumer products
MLS and Soccer United Marketing

The former Warner Brothers executive enters her third season as a full-timer in MLS managing the league’s partnership with Adidas and its relationships with the clubs, among other initiatives in retail. With New York City FC and Orlando City SC joining the league in 2015 and more expansion on the horizon, MLS licensing is expected to take bigger steps forward.

Dave Rowan

Executive vice president, chief revenue officer
Philadelphia Union

Last year, Rowan oversaw the growth of the Union’s preseason training properties in Deltona and Jacksonville, Fla., and strong increases in single-game and season-ticket sales. In 2014, the club is developing its own in-season training facility adjacent to its stadium, PPL Park.

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