SBJ/Sept. 11-17, 2017/Game Changers

Marisabel Muñoz, MLS / Soccer United Marketing

Photo by: DAN CHEATHAM / MLS

F
or much of her childhood, Marisabel Muñoz found herself on the sidelines of a soccer match. Growing up in Florida in a family with a deep love for the sport and a brother who was able to play in MLS, she began to write about the sport too, leading her to a career in sports journalism, with The Miami Herald and ESPN The Magazine.

In 2002, she had the opportunity to join MLS when she was offered a job in its communications department, helping to bolster its Spanish-language outreach.

Marisabel Muñoz
MLS and Soccer United Marketing // Vice president, communications
At the time, MLS found itself at a critical point — while questions swirled around the league’s financial health and its future, it folded two clubs. It also launched Soccer United Marketing, an ambitious bet on the sport’s long-term commercial prospects.

For some job seekers, that may have been enough cause to look elsewhere. But Muñoz reflected on her upbringing. “I come from a family whose one and only sport is soccer, where it feels like the sport is an organic piece of who you are,” she said. “There are millions around the globe who are the same, and I believed in the plan for what this could become.”

As the vice president of communications overseeing all U.S. Hispanic and international media relations, Muñoz has played a part in the massive growth of the league and SUM over the past 15 years. And she remains bullish for the future.

“It’s exciting to see where we are now,” she said. “But for me personally, I get the most excited to imagine where we may be in another 15 years.”

— Ian Thomas



  • Where born: Miami.
  • Education: Florida International University Honors College double major, journalism and international relations.
  • Attributes I look for when hiring: Positive attitude, a love of soccer, and respect for the craft of communications.
  • Networking tip I’ve learned: Being honest and straightforward when meeting new people, followed by a personal thank you note afterward — that follow-up goes a long way!
  • Best advice I’ve received for career development: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. That quote always hit a nerve, and then I learned that advance planning will allow you to enjoy what you do.
  •  Sports business industry can foster a healthier work-life balance by: Encouraging activities at the office to integrate family and children into our day-to-day, as well as us fostering the love of what we do with those around us.
  •  If I had it to do over again, I would: Not be overly concerned with failure.
  •  Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: A woman in business I like to read up on is Mary Barra at GM. Her decades-long growth within General Motors — and especially the ability to continue to be innovative within an organization — is appealing.
  • Is discussion about challenges women face working in sports necessary or played out? I believe in the art and the effectiveness of communication in many aspects of life, and if there are challenges, there should be discussion.
  • Causes supported: Hispanic Scholarship Fund and FIU Honors College Alumni Association.

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