CHICAGO (Sept. 26, 2022) – JT Batson has been named as the new CEO / Secretary General of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Batson, 40, succeeds Will Wilson, and will start in his role immediately. He will be moving to Chicago in the coming months to work out of the U.S. Soccer headquarters. Wilson, who made the decision to step down earlier this year, will stay on with U.S. Soccer through October to assist in the transition.
“JT is uniquely qualified for this position as a person who has vast experience working with large, complex organizations as well as an understanding of the intricate workings of modern business,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “He also has a passion for soccer born out playing and growing up in a generation that saw a massive growth of the sport in the United States. His energy, leadership, creative thinking and personal connection to seeing U.S. Soccer and the sport thrive will be a huge positive for the future of our Federation overall.”
Batson fell in love with soccer at a young age. He played club soccer for Augusta Arsenal growing up in Georgia and later helped run the club while serving as a referee and a referee assignor, mowing and lining fields and working in coaching recruitment. He has coached boys and girls at the grassroots level and has been active in supporting his childhood soccer club as a member of the Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club advisory board.
A long-time member of the soccer community, he feels his experience in grassroots soccer helped shape who he is today: an executive who prides himself on doing the work necessary to achieve goals and create important bonds with employees and partners while also teaching and mentoring.
Batson has spent his professional career at the intersection of media, advertising and technology, focused on solving challenging problems at scale through innovation and collaboration. The first software Batson ever worked on was for the assignment of youth soccer referees for tournament organizers. He also paid for college, in part, by working soccer camps.
“It’s an honor and a big responsibility to take on this position with U.S. Soccer, and I’m really looking forward to working with Cindy, our Board, our senior leadership, our players, coaches and referees, and all of our employees, partners and membership across the American soccer landscape,” said Batson. “I’m a big believer in the power of teamwork and collaboration, and during this historic time for soccer in the USA, that will be vitally important as we continue drive the Federation forward to even greater heights.”
A former member of U.S. Soccer Finance Committee, Batson comes to the Federation with experience heading large companies. He previously served as CEO of Hudson MX, a 425-person NYC- and Atlanta-based software company, which he co-founded and where he will remain a member of the board, that focuses on workflow and financial software for the advertising ecosystem.
His previous work with U.S. Soccer led to him helping spearhead the creation of the U.S. Soccer Development Fund which raises money to support U.S. Soccer’s development of world-class players, coaches and referees, all with the goal of continuing to inspire a nation.
Prior to founding Hudson MX, he was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Greylock Partners and Accel Partners.
Batson began his career as an early employee of Mozilla focused on international growth efforts of the then-nascent Firefox browser. He subsequently joined the Rubicon Project pre-revenue where he helped scale the company to six countries as the EVP, Revenue and Global Development. He’s also served in executive roles at Mediaocean and Cumulus Media.
As an undergrad at Stanford, Batson worked with the Stanford men’s and women’s soccer programs as a student assistant focused on recruiting, soccer operations, marketing, camps and fundraising. The Stanford men’s basketball teams took notice, and he also worked with that program, building a recruiting CRM system and managing dynamic ticket process and fan development. He also continued to referee during his college years, experiences that included running the middle during several scrimmages for the local professional teams.
“When I was playing youth soccer, I wasn’t the kid that was dreaming of playing in the World Cup, I was the kid dreaming about organizing one,” said Batson. “As it did for many in our soccer family, the 1994 World Cup in the USA had a profound impact on me and opened my eyes to the potential and global impact of soccer. That World Cup helped me start thinking big about soccer in the USA and about how big investment can impact the future. With 2022 FIFA World Cup starting in a few months, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup coming next summer and the USA co-hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup in four years, we are heading into a special time in our history and I’m extremely excited to be a part of it.”
Batson is a member of the board of the LGBTQ+ entrepreneur focused non-profit StartOut. He also serves on the board of directors for the NYC Ballet. Batson has guest taught at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design and the Graduate School of Business.
U.S. Soccer utilized the talent recruitment firm TurnkeyZRG to conduct a comprehensive, inclusive and rigorous executive search process.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT JT BATSON:
Bryan McDermott, Former VP, Georgia Soccer; President, Fayette County (GA) Youth Soccer
"I have known JT since he was a young referee. He’s been connected to the game from an early age and has contributed in so many ways within the grassroots of our game. I’ve been incredibly proud to see him succeed professionally, and his vast soccer knowledge when combined with his management skills make him the perfect person to serve as CEO of U.S. Soccer.”
Ivan Gazidis, Chief Executive Officer, AC Milan
“JT’s lifelong commitment to soccer at all levels and his impressive international business career make him the ideal next CEO for US Soccer.”
Kathy Carter, Chief Executive Officer, LA28
“I have got to know JT through the years, and he is a terrific person to be around and work with. He has a unique blend of intellect and emotional intelligence that allows him to tackle complicated issues, work with colleagues and ultimately make tough decisions to reach positive resolutions. Anyone who has spent time around JT knows he loves soccer, but he also has a passion for building and growing organizations, diving into projects and doing the work. He’s a great choice as CEO to lead U.S. Soccer to an increasingly bright future.”
Kenyatta Scott, Cal North Referee Association State Assignor Coordinator; Former Chair, Cal North Youth Soccer
“I’m proud of JT and excited for the future of U.S. Soccer. Their search for a CEO was extensive and they’ve found a candidate who checks all the boxes. From his humble beginnings, JT has risen to new heights through his dedication and experience across different industries, which have allowed him to work with people across different business and soccer sectors. As a former referee, JT understands insights that the average person might not, and his experience in grassroots soccer also provides him with the ability to understand the various areas of the soccer landscape. JT is the perfect choice to guide the growth of U.S. Soccer in its next chapter and in this ever-changing landscape.”
Nick Edmond, Director of Coaching, Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club
“JT is one of the most caring, hard-working, and reliable people I’ve ever met. Since we shared the field as teammates when we were kids and to this day, JT has an unparalleled passion for the game. Through his professional experience, he’s gained the tools that are necessary to lead every aspect of our sport, and we couldn’t be more excited that an Augusta Arsenal alum is now the CEO of U.S. Soccer.”
Paul Ratcliffe, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Stanford University
“JT Batson will be an outstanding CEO for US Soccer. He is passionate about the development of soccer at all levels, and he has the vision and business acumen to continue growing men’s and women’s soccer in the United States. JT has the interpersonal skills and experience to create strong partnerships and elevate U.S. Soccer on a global scale.”