Major League Soccer has introduced a new Sport & Competition Group that will oversee all aspects of league play.
The group's work will cover on-field competition, the quality of play and the signing and development of players. It will also cover the entire player pipeline from MLS and Division III MLS Next Pro to MLS Next, the national youth league, and MLS Go, the new recreational initiative.
The new group will be led by Nelson Rodriguez
, in the new position of Executive Vice President, Sporting Product & Competition, and Todd Durbin
, Executive Vice President, Player Strategy & Relations.
Rodriguez, who spent nearly 15 years as an MLS executive in its early years, has recently served as the MLS chief of staff. He was with the Chicago Fire for almost six years (2015-21), serving at different times as president and general manager.
He will oversee all aspects of how games unfold in all four MLS leagues, including scheduling, match-day operations, officiating, security, and health and medical, and work with Durbin on sporting strategies (how much money teams spend and how they spend it). Jeff Agoos
, Senior Vice President, Competition & Medical Administration, and Jeff Stonebreaker
, Senior Vice President, Safety & Security, will report to Rodriguez.
Durbin, one of MLS's first hires on the sporting side in 1995 and a key architect of its competition structure and evolving player mechanisms, will continue to lead the overall strategy on the player side.
He will also work with international governing bodies on rules and policies and work alongside Anastasia Danias
, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, on player issues with the MLS Players Association. Charles Altchek
, another MLS Executive Vice President, has been president of MLS Next Pro since its launch in 2022. He will also now oversee MLS Next and MLS Go as well continue to manage matchday operations and expansion.
With Rodriguez's move, Nina Tinari
will become MLS's Chief of Staff under Commissioner Don Garber
. She joined MLS in February after serving as Vice President of External Affairs and Chief of Staff for the NWSL's Kansas City Current.
Her work in the public sector includes three years as Special Assistant to Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell