The U.S. Soccer Federation hired former media, advertising and technology executive J.T. Batson to be its next CEO and secretary general, the federation announced Monday.
Batson, 40, 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.
Batson succeeds Will Wilson, and will start in his role immediately. He will move to Chicago in the coming months to work out of the U.S. Soccer headquarters. Wilson, who made the decision to step down earlier this year, will stay on with the USSF through October to assist in the transition.
"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 U.S. Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone. "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 United States. 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."
JT Batson is U.S. Soccer's new CEO/Secretary General!— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) September 26, 2022
The media, advertising and technology executive has a long history in grassroots soccer in the USA 🇺🇸
Baston has also been involved in youth soccer, having been involved with Augusta Arsenal in a variety of roles, including as a coach of boys' and girls' teams. He also played for the Georgia-based club in his youth.
"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 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."
Baston's previous work with U.S. Soccer led to him heading the creation of the U.S. Soccer Development Fund which raises money to support U.S. Soccer's development of players, coaches and referees.
Prior to founding Hudson MX, he was an entrepreneur in residence at Greylock Partners and Accel Partners.
Batson began his career as an early employee of Mozilla focused on international growth efforts of the then-nascent Firefox browser. He subsequently joined the Rubicon Project, where he helped the company expand to six countries as the EVP, revenue and global development. He has also served in executive roles at Mediaocean and Cumulus Media.
"I am drawn to big complex challenges and opportunities and that's been a reoccurring theme of what I've done my entire career," Batson said. "One of the slides in some presentations that U.S. Soccer makes is that our mission is to make soccer the premium sport in the United States.
"That is no small task and it's not necessarily a straight line from here to there, but it's something that I believe is possible, and it's something that I'm excited to wake up every morning and get after it and go do."
As an undergrad at Stanford, Batson worked with the Stanford men's and women's soccer programs as a student assistant focused on recruiting, soccer operations, marketing, camps and fundraising. He also worked with the Stanford men's basketball team.
"When I was playing youth soccer, I wasn't the kid that was dreaming of playing in the World Cup, I was the kid dreaming about organizing one," Batson said. "As it did for many in our soccer family, the 1994 World Cup in the USA had a profound impact on me and opened my eyes to the potential and global impact of soccer. That World Cup helped me start thinking big about soccer in the USA and about how big investment can impact the future. With 2022 FIFA World Cup starting in a few months, the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup coming next summer and the USA co-hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup in four years, we are heading into a special time in our history and I'm extremely excited to be a part of it."