Commentary

Klein quickly climbs Galaxy corporate ladder

By Paul Kennedy

One of the key figures in the MLS Players Union during its negotiations with MLS over a collective bargaining agreement, Chris Klein now sits on the other side of the table.

In a little more than two years since his retirement as a player, he has quickly moved up the corporate ladder, going from running the Los Angeles Galaxy's academy program to being named club president.

A certified financial planner, Klein was known for helping advise young teammates on how to handle their finances. He will now work closely with new AEG Sports Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman while continuing to oversee the business operations of the club.
 
“We have always been impressed with Chris’ commitment and desire to excel on the business side of sports, and we have great confidence and faith that he will take the LA Galaxy to new levels,” said AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke in a statement. “We admire his passion and loyalty to the brand and his desire for the Galaxy to be the greatest soccer club in the history of this sport in this country.”

Klein spent 12 years as a player in MLS, playing for Kansas City and Real Salt Lake before being traded to the Galaxy in June 2007. He retired from MLS having played in 333 regular-season games, the fifth most in MLS history at the time.

NEW D.C. MANAGEMENT TEAM. Continuing the shakeup that began when Erick Thohir and Jason Levien came in as co-owners last summer and was followed by club president Kevin Payne's departure to Toronto FC, D.C. United introduced new executive management ahead of the 2013 MLS campaign.

Michael Williamson will serve as COO/CFO, overseeing business operations, while Doug Hicks assumes duties as Chief Marketing Officer and will lead all communications, promotional and branding initiatives. Mike Schoenbrun has joined the leadership team from Foreign Policy, a division of Washington Post Company, as Vice President, Business Development and Partnerships.

“We are entering a dynamic period in the organization’s history,” said Levien, the United General Partner. “Michael, Doug and Mike have unique and broad bases of experience and I’m confident they will effectively lead the club’s business efforts and enhance its trajectory.”

CASTROL ADDS U.S. INDEX. Castrol will expand the Castrol Index to include an index for the men’s national team, which opens its 2013 season Tuesday against Canada in Houston. The Castrol U.S. Soccer Index will rank every player’s contribution during the match in Houston and updated after each match in 2013.

“We are thrilled to expand the Castrol Index tool to the U.S. Soccer Federation,” said Tracy Drelich-Knauer, associate promotions and sponsorship manager for Castrol, in a statement. “Following two successful seasons as the official performance index of Major League Soccer, the Castrol Index will continue to engage soccer fans, players and coaches alike.”

REAL-TIME FUTBOL. A new venture allows fans to take matters into their own hands at Mexican second division club Murcielagos FC. "DT Electrónico" allows fans to vote for the starting lineup -- and who should come in and out of the game.

Fans can watch the game on Univision Deportes and register to serve as virtual managers. Each Murcielagos match attracts an average of 8,000 virtual managers online. During each match, cameras broadcast live at half-time and report from the locker rooms and other behind-the-scene locations, bringing real-time action to viewers.
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