Duffy be­comes ex­ec­u­tive VP

For­mer NWSL boss has ‘tremen­dous ex­cite­ment’ about her new po­si­tion

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS WEDNESDAY - By Ju­lia Poe

Af­ter step­ping down from her pre­vi­ous post as the pres­i­dent of the NWSL, Amanda Duffy has been hired as the new ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the Or­lando Pride.

The role of pres­i­dent is a new form of lead­er­ship for the Pride, and it will re­turn Duffy to a lead­er­ship team that she has been work­ing with since her early days in club ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Duffy will take charge of the front of­fice and tech­ni­cal oper­a­tions of the Pride’s front of­fice, re­port­ing di­rectly to Or­lando City CEO Alex Leitão. She will also take on the du­ties of hir­ing and over­see­ing all mem­bers the Pride staff.

“When we de­cided to in­vest in this po­si­tion, we knew we wanted to bring in some­one who not only has a strong un­der­stand­ing of the cur­rent land­scape of women’s soc­cer but some­one who has a proven record of build­ing ex­cit­ing, suc­cess­ful clubs, and

we couldn’t think of a more per­fect fit than Amanda,” Leitão said. “We have been work­ing closely with Amanda for years and have seen all that she has been able to ac­com­plish, from her days in the USL and Louisville to her most re­cent time with the NWSL.

“We are so ex­cited that she has cho­sen to come to Or­lando and that she shares our vi­sion of the po­ten­tial of women’s soc­cer in this coun­try and wants to be a part of build­ing the fu­ture of the game as a mem­ber of the Pride.”

Af­ter work­ing in the NWSL ad­min­is­tra­tion for two years, Duffy be­came the league’s pres­i­dent in Jan­uary 2019. Dur­ing her year­long ten­ure, the league inked a spon­sor­ship deal with Bud­weiser and broad­cast­ing deal with ESPN, added an ex­pan­sion fran­chise in Louisville and in­creased at­ten­dance by al­most 25%.

The NWSL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion re­leased a state­ment on so­cial me­dia thank­ing Duffy for her time as league pres­i­dent.

Duffy comes to Or­lando with pre­vi­ous ties to the Or­lando City or­ga­ni­za­tion — she was the pres­i­dent of Louisville City when the team was Or­lando City’s USL af­fil­i­ate, and she has been men­tored by Or­lando City co-founder Phil Rawl­ins; Beswicks Sports di­rec­tor and Or­lando City board mem­ber Gary Mel­lor; and for­mer Or­lando City vice pres­i­dent of de­vel­op­ment Tim Holt.

“I have en­joyed a re­la­tion­ship with the lead­er­ship of Or­lando City SC for more than a decade and have watched its rapid growth tra­jec­tory into a global brand with ad­mi­ra­tion and re­spect,” Duffy said. “As this po­si­tion came into the club’s plans, and as I learned more about the broader goals of the col­lec­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion, it was clear to me that the club is pre­pared to in­vest deeply in the women’s game, and in the Pride specif­i­cally. This in­vest­ment, com­bined with the chance to work with Alex’s lead­er­ship, a world-class ros­ter and in­tensely pas­sion­ate fans, made the de­ci­sion to come to Or­lando one of tremen­dous ex­cite­ment and an im­mense honor.”

Dur­ing her time in Louisville, Duffy was suc­cess­ful in ral­ly­ing sup­port for the club, which set at­ten­dance records dur­ing her year as pres­i­dent. Un­der Duffy, Louisville fin­ished among the top 25 fran­chises in at­ten­dance across all North Amer­i­can leagues, in­clud­ing MLS. This will be a fo­cus as the new pres­i­dent set­tles into her role. Al­though the team saw a boost of 1,000 fans on av­er­age from 2018 due to the World Cup, over­all Pride at­ten­dance has dwin­dled by 38% since the team came to Or­lando in 2016.

She will start her role in the front of­fice on Feb. 15. Pride gen­eral man­ager Erik Ustruck will con­tinue in his cur­rent po­si­tion un­til Duffy’s start date, and he will then re­turn to a po­si­tion with Or­lando City.

JEREMY REPER/ISI PHO­TOS

For­mer NWSL Pres­i­dent Amanda Duffy is now the ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the Or­lando Pride.

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