US Soccer Federation hires ad tech company cofounder as CEO

CHICAGO (AP) — JT Batson, cofounder of the advertising technology company Hudson MX, was hired Monday as CEO and secretary general of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The 40-year-old replaces Will Wilson, the uncle of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Wilson announced in June he was leaving on Oct. 31 after just 2 1/2 years. He took over from Dan Flynn, who held the job from June 2000 until September 2019.

Batson has assumed his new role at a key time for the federation. The U.S. men are headed this November to the World Cup in Qatar after missing out on Russia in 2018. The U.S. women are the top-ranked team in the world and will defend their title at the Women’s World Cup in Australia next summer. The United States will also jointly host the World Cup with Mexico and Canada in 2026.

“There’s a lot of momentum, there’s a lot of excitement. And there’s a lot of great ideas within the broader US Soccer community about how we grow the game for everyone,” Batson said. “And as someone who grew up in the game and who fell in love with soccer as a young kid, where we are as a soccer nation and where we are as a federation is unrecognizable in a positive way relative to the 90s when I first fell in love with the sport. There’s so many good things going on.”

Batson will run the federation under President Cindy Parlow Cone, a former national team player, and the USSF board of directors.

“He’s a proven CEO. He is a proven team-builder. He’s a proven driver of revenue. He’s a proven fundraiser, proven decision-maker,” Parlow Cone said Monday. “He comes from our game. He understands the different dynamics and the different stakeholders in our game.”

Batson played for the Augusta Arsenal club in Georgia, served as a referee and a referee assignor and is a former member of the USSF’s finance committee.

He previously worked for the venture capital firms Accel and Greylock Partners.

Batson said his work will focus on growing soccer at all levels.

“Everything we do needs to run through the lens of, not just how does this help our senior national teams, but how does this help our youth national teams, our extended national teams, our coaches, our referees, our professional leagues, our adult amateur leagues, our youth leagues?” Batson said. “And also all the folks who before haven’t felt at home in the U.S. Soccer family? How do we bring those folks either directly or indirectly into the fold to help us grow the game?”

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