Nolan Partners Leading GM Search for San Jose Earthquakes

November 22, 2016 – The San Jose Earthquakes has hired Nolan Partners, a leading sports dedicated search firm, to help identify the club’s next general manager. Technical director Chris Leitch is currently serving as the Quakes’ interim general manager. In late August, the Earthquakes announced that they had terminated long-serving GM John Doyle after the team made the playoffs only twice in nine seasons.

Co-leading the assignment is Nolan Partners’ global head of performance practice, Euan Frizzell, and managing director of North America Chad Biagini. Their search is expected to be cast across the U.S. and internationally.

A GM Search Going Global 

“The Earthquakes are searching for a general manager with a clear strategic plan to build our soccer operations department from the ground up,” said Earthquakes president Dave Kaval. “The club now has the infrastructure in place for long-term success. We believe that Nolan Partners can help us find the best candidate that is so vital to the club’s future. We want to give our fan base a team that competes for championships every year.”

“We’d be remiss to not look at what’s directly under our noses in Major League Soccer,” said Paul Nolan, group managing director and founder of Nolan Partners. But he said the firm will also broaden its search to include candidates with football / soccer experience in England, Germany, the Netherlands and other developed European markets.

“The Earthquakes GM is a fascinating search on a number of levels and is further demonstration of the development and progression MLS, and the Quakes in particular, is making,” Mr. Nolan said. “We’ll be identifying, attracting and comparing the best talent from continents and leagues around the world.”

Nolan Partners has placed several GMs and sporting directors, including filling a similar role twice for Tottenham Hotspur in the U.K. Last year, the firm helped fill the GM role for the Yokohama F. Marinos, a member of City Football Group along with Manchester City FC, Melbourne City FC and New York City FC. Specific to this sport, Nolan Partners regularly represents Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, among others throughout Europe, Asia, and the U.S.


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Sports & Entertainment Recruiting

Founded in 2006, Nolan Partners is focused exclusively on working with clients in sports and sports-related sectors. The firm has completed more than 250 senior executive placements across 16 different sports, including the NFL, NBA, swimming, tennis, Formula 1, cricket, rugby, and football / soccer.

The firm works on a global basis with clients that range from world famous sports clubs, governing bodies, professional leagues, venues, broadcasters and major corporate organizations involved in sports. They include the NBA, Liverpool FC, Chelsea FC, Aspire Zone, beIN Media Group, The NFL, Rugby League International Federation, Mercedes Formula One, Wimbledon, and Manchester United FC.

An Expansive Field

The sports & entertainment field is one of the most active and expanding sectors for executive search businesses. Many C-suite focused recruiting firms are now active in it and some specialize only in the sports field itself, but all are dedicated to providing sports-related executive search and leadership advisory services.

They include in addition to Nolan Partners, CarrSports Consulting, Korn Ferry, Harvard Group International, Prodigy Sports, Marquee Search, DHR International, Hartmann Mason, College Sports Solutions, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Ascension Sports Partners, Russell Reynolds Associates, Diversified Search, Odgers Berndtson, Eastman & Beaudine, Alden Associates, Turnkey Search, Parker Executive Search, Sports Recruitment International (SRi), Neinas Sports Services, and Collegiate Sports Associates.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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