Leandro Stillitano, former Director of Marketing and Sales for the MetroStars, has been named the first Vice President and General Manager of the Miami Fusion, team investor-operator Kenneth Horowitz announced Oct. 29. Stillitano, 38, arrives in South Florida after two highly successful years with the MetroStars. With the Fusion, he will direct the overall operation of the team, including sales, marketing, broadcasting, media and community relations, and soccer operations. "I am honored to have the opportunity to be associated with such a first-class organization," said Stillitano. "Mr. Horowitz and his ownership group are committed to the sport of soccer and to developing a successful club in South Florida." Fluent in three languages (including Spanish and Italian), Stillitano brings high-level experience in the sports industry to his new position. During his tenure with the MetroStars, Stillitano oversaw the club's marketing, ticket sales, sponsorship sales, broadcasting and advertising/promotions. In the club's first two seasons, the MetroStars averaged nearly 20,000 fans per game at the Meadowlands. During the inaugural MLS season, Stillitano was responsible for helping to achieve the highest season ticket revenue for any team in the league. In addition to overseeing all aspects of the MetroStars radio and television broadcasts, Stillitano has experience managing various print, broadcast and fixed-media marketing campaigns in both English and Spanish. "Leandro's combination of marketing and soccer expertise is exactly what is needed to build the Fusion up from the ground floor," said Horowitz. "He is an excellent leader who understands how to create a winning team, both on and off the field." Prior to his work with MLS, Stillitano was a marketing consultant and sales representative for World Cup USA 94, overseeing the marketing of premier ticket packages, luxury suites and regional sponsorships. For World Cup USA 94 he recorded the highest worldwide individual sales total, generating nearly $10 million in earnings. An All-Ivy League defender during his playing days at Columbia University, he is the brother of MetroStars General Manager and Vice President Charlie Stillitano. The Stillitanos have been active participants in the New Jersey soccer community for more than 20 years. "We are close to finalizing the head coaching position and expect to announce our coach next week," Stillitano said. "We also are beginning to narrow our list of candidates for front office positions. I anticipate having a staff of 25-30 people on board by the end of the year." The Fusion and the Chicago Fire will begin play in March of 1998; Fans can call (305) 631-2800 for more information on the Miami Fusion.
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