The United Soccer League (USL), the organizer of the second and third-tier North American men’s competitions, announced yesterday (April 27) that its president Jake Edwards is stepping down after 10 years of building the organization.

Edwards' departure will see the presidency split into two separate roles for the different USL tiers, with two internal promotions. Jeremy Alumbaugh has been appointed president of the second-tier USL Championship, while Lee O’Neill takes over as president of the third-tier USL League One.

Edwards said: “The USL has played a significant role in the dramatic growth of the sport across the nation over the past 10 years. It has been an enormous honor to help lead that growth during my tenure alongside a fantastic executive team at USL HQ, and over the next decade, I believe the USL will continue to shape the future of the sport at all levels.

“I am so appreciative of the team owners, executives, and club staff at each club who work tirelessly to create such strong, community-based organizations, supported so passionately by millions of fans each year across our leagues, as well as of all the players and coaches who raise the standard of play every season to make our leagues among the most competitive in the Concacaf region.”

Edwards joined the USL in 2013 as executive vice president before being promoted to president in 2015.

Alongside USL chief executive Alec Papadakis, Edwards oversaw the rapid growth of the USL into, as the league puts it, a "modern" soccer organization with seven national leagues, 36 professional clubs competing in its top two competitions, and nearly 200 pre-professional teams across the US.

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During his tenure, he guided the USL through a rebrand in 2015 and a structural transformation in 2019 that established the USL Championship, League One, and League Two competitions as the next three tiers of men’s professional soccer in the country behind Major League Soccer.

Since then, the USL has also established the USL Academy and created a structure for women’s clubs that includes the pre-professional USL W League and the USL Super League – the new women’s division set to launch in 2024 that will sit behind the top-tier National Women’s Soccer League.

He also led the organization through the pandemic-affected season in 2020 and the historic collective bargaining agreements for the USL Championships and League One.

Papadakis said: “All of us are grateful for the contributions that Jake Edwards has made to growing not only the USL but also soccer in America.

“When we outlined our vision for the future of the USL more than a decade ago, Jake proved to be the right leader at the right time to guide our organization through this transformative period. Jake will always be part of the USL family.”

In March 2022, USL promoted its executive vice president Court Jeske to chief commercial officer and added Greg Lalas, the former vice-president of content at MSL, as the league’s first chief marketing officer to bolster its executive team in New York.