After nine months without an official general manager, the Chicago Red Stars have now named Richard Feuz as the man to lead the Red Stars through this new chapter in Laura Rickett’s ownership of the team.
Feuz will lead all soccer operations for the club, but his own personal approach goes beyond just winning. It starts with the people in the organization — the players and the staff — and consistently putting people first.
“Maybe most people will say ‘I want to just win the first game,” Feuz told The Equalizer of his primary goal for the club. “I don’t think like this. I think that winning is a consequence of doing a great job every single day. My first concern will be: we’re talking about my family, we’re talking about human beings.”
“What will make these players happy?’ Having fun every single day. Feeling safe. We’re talking about the players and staff and feeling safe to come to work every single day. If we can bring back this joy on but also off the pitch, I’m pretty sure we have the players to have a great season and to bring back Chicago where this organization deserves to be.”
During Feuz’s first visit to the Windy City, the weather decided to show off with temperatures in the -20 Fahrenheit range, but that didn’t scare off Feuz, as he joked about the weather, “I’m ready for a challenge, I’m ready for every single part of the Chicago challenge”
Feuz was ready for something new after seven years with Servette Football Club in Geneva, Switzerland. He began at Servette as an intern and made his way up to sporting director and vice president, where one of his first projects in 2017 was to build the women’s team up from scratch. Under his purview, the team finished at the top of the table of the most competitive women’s league in Switzerland four times, won the Swiss Women’s Super League, a Women’s Swiss Cup, and the squad qualified for Champions League three consecutive times. In 2020 Feuz also took on the responsibility of being the CEO of the Servette men’s team.
“Richard has a proven record in building championship-level organizations, having led the Servette Football Club through years of success on and off the pitch,” said Red Stars Executive Chairperson Laura Ricketts in a release. “His experience will be invaluable as we begin this new chapter for the Chicago Red Stars.”
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As for how he ended up as Chicago’s general manager, Feuz spoke of the importance of needing to feel passion from leadership on where an organization was heading. After conversations with Ricketts, Feuz felt that the two were fairly aligned on where they saw the club’s future.
“[We] think in the same word, [we] have the same vision, [we] share the same perspective on all we want to do to empower women’s sports and women’s soccer,” Feuz said of their conversations. “I shared my experience. I shared what I wanted to do in my next chapter. We were in the same line.”
Feuz is joining the team in an interesting stage of its rebuild. The 2022-23 offseason saw a player exodus through the new mechanism of free agency, and in the months after the 2023 season ended, Chicago, once again, saw an offseason free agency exodus, with six players signing with new teams so far. Part of the exodus is likely due to the transition in staff, which may have left key players wary of the club’s path forward without a club president, general manager, or head coach hired.
But in December, Karen Leetzow began her role as President, and in January, Lorne Donaldson, the former Jamaican national team coach, started his time as head coach of the Red Stars. These staff additions helped plot a course forward – in January alone, the team signed seven players, and via some draft day trade magic gained additional veteran experience and additional draft picks as well.
Feuz is excited to be a part of the transition, reiterating his focus on the people. “The most important thing for me, we have to put the player first. [The] players are the most important thing we have here in this team.”
Ricketts and Feuz are in agreement on Feuz’s approach, and they two share “this passion… for a rebirth. We use the French word – renaissance – that I want to bring to this organization and this amazing city, and I’m ready to take this challenge.”
Feuz has already joined the team in Florida, where they are in the midst of their preseason camp at IMG Academy ahead of a closed door scrimmage with the North Carolina Courage. The Red Stars will kick off the 2024 NWSL season, and the next steps in their renaissance, on the road against expansion side Utah Royals on Saturday, March 16.
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