CHICAGO (Nov. 13, 2014) – U.S. Soccer has appointed Nelson Rodríguez to the newly created position of Managing Director of National Team Advisory Services. In this role, Rodríguez will establish an office dedicated to educating members of the National Teams player pool on a variety of topics related to their careers. In addition, the office will serve as a resource to the players and their parents to provide information, guidance and counseling services as they seek to make choices about their career path.
“We are thrilled to have Nelson Rodríguez take on this important role on behalf of U.S. Soccer,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “After the World Cup this summer, Jurgen Klinsmann came to me with the idea that because the landscape for aspiring professionals has changed so significantly, providing basic counseling services to our young players would be very beneficial. We believe Nelson can be an invaluable resource for our players and their families as they navigate this path. He brings an incredible amount of experience and integrity to this position, and we are excited about the potential.”
“The profile of aspiring American professional players continues to grow both domestically and internationally,” said Rodríguez. “Ensuring that our players are educated and prepared for the rigors of life as a professional athlete is important as they continue to develop on and off the field. I am honored to join U.S. Soccer in this new role and I look forward to serving all the members of our respective National Teams.”
The office will focus on several key areas for players at all stages of their career:
- Player evaluations (technical, tactical, performance fitness, mindset, personal development) to indicate the readiness to turn professional
- Educational offerings on key topics related to being a professional player (personal finances, representation, time management, etc.)
- Evaluations of clubs/leagues to indicate the best “fit” for a player – balancing the style of league play with the physical attributes, talent, technique and mentality of the player
- Assistance when players are professionals as they make major transitions (such as transfers, retirement from playing)
- Assistance with navigating the FIFA regulations that govern the status of transfers, eligibility to play for U.S. National Teams (if change of association is required, etc.), player releases during FIFA fixture dates, FIFA transfer windows, etc.
Rodríguez joins U.S. Soccer after more than 14 years at the Major League Soccer’s league office, where he served as Executive Vice President of Competition, Technical and Game Operations. Credited with leading a number of initiatives both on and off the field, Rodríguez also has a wealth of experience in business operations, including serving as the Senior Vice President of Strategic Development for MLS’ commercial arm Soccer United Marketing.
Prior to joining MLS, the New Jersey native was a club executive for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and was a member of the 1994 FIFA World Cup local organizing committee for the Giants Stadium venue. Most recently, he was appointed as President of Chivas USA by MLS when the league took over club operations in February.