October 21, 2022 – TurnkeyZRG has assisted in the recruitment of former media, advertising, and technology executive J.T. Batson as the new CEO of the United States Soccer Federation, the national governing body for the sport of soccer. Current CEO Will Wilson announced he will be stepping down at the end of October to pursue new professional ventures and opportunities. “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 Cindy Parlow Cone, president of U.S. Soccer. “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 U.S. 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.”
Mr. Batson is a former member of U.S. Soccer finance committee, and he takes on his new role having previously served as CEO of Hudson MX, a workflow and financial software company he co-founded and where he will remain a member of the board.
Mr. 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.
“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 Mr. 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.”
“I have known JT since he was a young referee,” said Bryan McDermott, former VP, Georgia Soccer; president, Fayette County (GA) Youth Soccer. “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.”
“JT is one of the most caring, hard-working, and reliable people I’ve ever met,” said Nick Edmond, director of coaching, Augusta Arsenal Soccer Club. “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.”
TurnkeyZRG Assists the Atlantic Coast Conference in Finding New Commissioner
TurnkeyZRG has assisted the Atlantic Coast Conference in the selection of James J. Phillips, the Combe Family vice president for athletics & recreation at Northwestern University, as its next commissioner. The ACC conducted a comprehensive, inclusive nationwide search process facilitated by TurnkeyZRG. The firm spoke with stakeholders across the ACC in developing the job description, and assembled a diverse array of candidates across sports, education, business and government.
Since its founding in 1913 as the United States Football Association, the United States Soccer Federation has played an integral part in charting the course for the sport in the U.S. The federation is comprised of youth and adult organizations, as well as professional leagues. The non-profit has 113 organization members across the country. Bringing to fruition the commitment to alternative versions of the sports, the U.S. Soccer Federation is also made up of both U.S. Men and Women’s Para National Team, U.S. Men’s Futsal National Team, and U.S. Men’s and Women’s Beach Soccer National Team.
Serving Sports, Media and Entertainment Organizations
Founded in 1996, TurnkeyZRG is a specialized talent recruitment/executive search firm filling C-level, senior-level and mid-management-level positions throughout sports, media, and entertainment. Over the past 25 years, the firm has filled more than 1,400 positions. TurnkeyZRG helps teams, leagues, stadiums, arenas, theaters, college athletic departments, events, sponsors, agencies, media companies, private equity companies and other clients identify, recruit, and hire the best management talent.
Len Perna, chairman and CEO of TurnkeyZRG, has 30-plus years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry, with senior-level management experience in sales, event marketing and management, sponsorships, venue feasibility and development, facility operations, licensing, and legal affairs. Since founding Turnkey, Mr. Perna has managed over 1,400 executive searches, according to the firm.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media