Bay FC, the National Women’s Soccer League expansion team set to kick off in 2024, announced Brady Stewart as the team’s first CEO on Wednesday. Stewart spent 14 years with Levi Strauss & Co., most recently as a senior vice president.
Stewart represents the first major hire for Bay FC, which was founded by four former United States women’s national team players and owned by investment firm Sixth Street. Her background in consumer retail — and extensive time spent in the Bay Area with Levi Strauss — align with the club’s vision for a brand meant to resonate with the casual consumer as well as locals.
“Women’s sports are a revolution happening in real-time. Bay FC will be a rallying point for our fans in the Bay Area, for women’s sports, for the next generation of dreamers and for anyone who wants to be part of creating an inclusive organization that unites our fans across the Bay Area and beyond,” Stewart said. “We will establish a legacy that unites and energizes our fans and celebrates our athletes for what they are: the best soccer players in the world.”
Also on Wednesday, ESPN first reported that Bay FC hired former D.C. United general manager Lucy Rushton to the same role, making her the first GM for Bay FC.
In a statement, the team said that Brady “will prioritize creating a culture that celebrates and empowers players before, during and after their careers at the club.” She will develop community programming in addition to leading — and building — the front office.
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Stewart will work with club co-chairs Aly Wagner and Alan Waxman, as well as fellow founders Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne and Danielle Slaton.
“Brady is a world-class leader with a proven instinct for innovating and accelerating growth in changing markets, and she’s going to drive our founding vision of building Bay FC into a franchise that represents more than just a soccer team,” Waxman said. “She has a deep love and appreciation for both the game and the Bay Area, and she knows how to galvanize passionate people towards a common goal. Our entire investor group is here to support her, and we’re excited for where she’s going to take Bay FC.”
Bay FC will begin play in the NWSL alongside Utah Royals FC in 2024, bringing the league to 14 total teams. Bay FC’s expansion fee was $53 million, roughly 10 times the previous expansion fee paid only two years ago.
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