Outside the world of sports business, she is not well known. Here's a look at her career ...
William & Mary record-holder. Carter played four years (1987-90) at William & Mary, which was one of the top women's programs in the 1980s and 1990s. She is tied for the lowest goals-against average in Tribe history (0.87). The team she played on as a freshman included three All-Americans: 1991 Women's World Cup champion Megan McCarthy, current U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis and former Princeton women's head coach Julie (Cunningham) Shackford.
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World Cup 1994 alum. Tipped off by a friend while playing a pick-up game of soccer, Carter landed a job working at the 1994 World Cup organizing committee selling corporate sponsorships. Her first sale: StarKist. She is just one of many World Cup 1994s who are still involved in soccer, including U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati (executive vice president and chief international officer), U.S. Soccer general secretary Dan Flynn (Chicago venue chief) and Relevent Sports chairman Charlie Stillitano (New York venue chief).
MLS original. The 1994 World Cup organizing committee also served as a talent pool for Major League Soccer when it launched in 1996. Gulati was deputy commissioner while Carter was hired as vice president of corporate marketing. She stayed at MLS until late 1999 when she moved to ISL. She moved to Envision and then AEG, which operated six of MLS's 10 teams, before returning to the league to handle sponsorship sales and activation in 2003.
SUM years. In 2002, MLS's owners formed Soccer United Marketing. The origin of an MLS agency was to acquire the World Cup television rights in the United States (2002 and 2006 finals) and bundle them with the MLS television package, ensuring the struggling league -- down to 10 teams in 2002 -- stayed on national television.
But SUM soon expanded into the event and sponsorship business, taking on marketing activities for MLS and others. On the first events it tackled was the 2003 Women's World Cup, which was moved to the United States four months before the start of the tournament as a result of the 2003 SARS outbreak in China.
It also added the rights to the Mexican national team's many games in the United States in late 2003 and U.S. Soccer and Concacaf in 2004. (SUM lost its agreement with Concacaf in 2012 but regained it in 2016 after Traffic's involvement in the criminal enterprise headed by its founder, Jose Hawila, led to indictments against dozens of soccer officials in Concacaf and Conmebol.)
In 2010, Carter was promoted to president of SUM, taking over the management of the day-to day operations from Doug Quinn. Two years later, SUM sold a 25 percent interest to the private equity firm Providence Equity Partners for a reported $150 million. When Providence sold its interest back to SUM in 2017, it had tripled its initial investment, putting SUM's value at well over $1 billion.
SUM's success symbolizes the legitimacy soccer in general -- and MLS in particular -- has developed in the U.S. business community since Carter first starting selling the sport. But critics have railed against SUM as an example of soccer becoming a big business at the expense of the purity of the game and care of its fans.
SUM has also become embroiled in the lawsuit the NASL filed against U.S. Soccer, arguing, unsuccessfully until now, that U.S. Soccer conspired against the NASL in its application of the sanctioning process because of U.S. Soccer's aligned business interests with SUM.
Crystal Ball ... Asked by Sports Business Journal in 2006 where soccer would be 20 years, Carter said the USA will have won the World Cup and MLS will be playing in at least 16 markets.
MLS has far overachieved in terms of the latter, but the former remains an elusive goal. And at the center of the debate Carter will have with other candidates for U.S. Soccer president.