New NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson
  • New NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson

During an afternoon media teleconference, the North American Soccer League (NASL) introduced Bill Peterson as the league’s second commissioner, replacing the outgoing David Downs, who announced his resignation in early October. Peterson, who was born in Smithfield, N.C. and currently resides in Florida, is a career sports executive who comes to the NASL following a two-year stint as president of the board of directors for USA Cycling. He is also managing director of Solve4, a sports advisory firm he founded last November.

Peterson worked for NFL Europe from 1991-2000 in various capacities, including general manager of the Amsterdam Admirals, before eventually becoming league president. While with NFL Europe, Peterson also worked with future Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, who left the NFL to take the reins at MLS in 1999. Peterson then spent six years as special vice president for AEG in Los Angeles, where he developed the bulk of his background with American soccer.

While at AEG, he served as managing director for the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., home of the AEG-owned LA Galaxy, and he served on the MLS Board of Governors. And for those David Beckham-to-NY Cosmos conspiracists out there, Peterson helped oversee many of AEG’s sport properties during his time with the company, including the David Beckham Academy.

Less auspiciously, Peterson served as chief operating officer for the ill-fated United Football League from January 2010 through October 2011. As the league tottered on the brink of eventual insolvency, Peterson filed a lawsuit against the league seeking more than $110,000 in unpaid wages, an action that remains pending in Duval County, Fla.

Peterson’s ties to MLS and Garber should provide some insight and, indeed, solace for those anxiously looking at this hiring as a harbinger of the NASL’s posture regarding future relations with MLS. The NASL is in a key phase of its development, with three expansion franchises—the Cosmos and startup clubs in Loudon County, Va. and Ottawa, Ontario—poised to join the eight-member league over the next months. Meanwhile, Peterson says he intends to hit the ground running by visiting each of the member clubs, including the Carolina RailHawks.

Click here to read the NASL’s official announcement.