It was announced today that once a replacement is found, Cheryl Bailey will step down as Executive Director of the National Women’s Soccer League to spend more time with her family.
Bailey previously served as General Manager of the USWNT from 2007 to 2011, overseeing the program during two World Cups and the 2008 Olympics. She used that experience to oversee the launch of the NWSL.
She was appointed the Executive Director less than five months before the season began in April 2013 and, since then, has established the league as one of the top women’s leagues in the world.
“It was important for me to give back to the sport that has given me so much, so I accepted this endeavor with the objective of starting a new league and creating a successful organization,” Bailey said. “I have committed myself 100 percent in order to achieve this goal, but now is the time for me to step away.”
Bailey is not exaggerating when she describes her commitment to the league over the past two years. While Executive Director, she oversaw marketing, operations, public relations, sponsorship, and competition.
Sunil Gulati, President of U.S. Soccer, was present when the announcement was made and offered Bailey his full support and gratitude.
“I would like to sincerely thank Cheryl for her commitment and dedication,” Gulati said. “Her leadership was influential in the launch of the league and she provided a wealth of knowledge and experience that was important to guiding the league during the last two years.”
After the financial struggle and folding of the Women’s United Soccer Association (2001-03) and Women’s Professional Soccer (2009-12), Bailey guided the NWSL out of the ashes and established the league on the highest level of the U.S. soccer pyramid, ahead of the Women’s Premier Soccer League and W-League.
Currently with nine teams and rumors of expansion, Cheryl Bailey leaves her post with the NWSL regarded as one of the top women’s leagues in the world and home to some of the top players in women’s soccer.
Cheryl Bailey will continue to serve the position until a replacement is found. She will aid in the search for a replacement and will continue to serve as consultant to ease the transition.
If the replacement is anything like Cheryl Bailey, the league will continue to grow and flourish.