Jeff Plush announced on Thursday that he is stepping down as commissioner of NWSL after more than two years on the job. A national search for his replacement will begin immediately. A league spokesperson said Plush intends to stay on and assist with the transition. According to the release from NWSL, Plush is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.
“It has been a privilege to play a role in the growth and promise of the NWSL, and especially so when I think of the talented and committed individuals I’ve worked with who will continue to dedicate themselves to the women’s game and this truly amazing league,” Plush said in the statement. “I thank Dan Flynn, Sunil Gulati, team owners and the players for their trust and belief in me as a steward of their league and our game. I now look forward to my next adventure with the comfort in knowing NWSL is in a great place today, with even better days ahead.”
Plush was the league’s first commissioner, taking over for Cheryl Bailey who served as Executive Director during the league’s first two seasons. He took his share of criticism during his tenure, notably for a dearth of national sponsors that came on board in the wake of the World Cup bump of two summers. He resigns on the one-month anniversary of his best day on the job. On February 2, NWSL announced a multi-faceted agreement with A+E Networks that saw A+E take an equity stake in the league, agree to air a national game of the week every Saturday for the next three seasons, and join with the league to form a new marketing arm, NWSL Media.
“As commissioner over the past two seasons, Jeff Plush has been integral in the stability and rise of NWSL, and his body of work will provide his successor an excellent blueprint to follow in the years ahead,” Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer, said. “We will immediately explore candidates to succeed Jeff, who will leave as a friend and with great respect from all of us at U.S. Soccer and the NWSL.”
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