After a Legacy of Work, Kevin Payne To Retire At End of Year … Mike Cullina Steps Up
US Club Soccer CEO/Executive Director Kevin Payne will retire at the end of the year, concluding a seven-year period at the helm of the organization and more than 30 years of high-profile, executive leadership experience in the sport.
Mike Cullina, currently the Chairperson of US Club Soccer’s Board of Directors, will join the staff on July 1 to aid the transition and assume the CEO/Executive Director position on January 1, 2022.
“I’ve enjoyed my time leading US Club Soccer and thank my friends Ken and Joan Chartier for giving me that opportunity,” Payne said. “I’m proud of the substantial growth we’ve enjoyed and the way in which we’ve begun to change the environment for players and parents through our Players First program.“
Payne started with US Club Soccer in 2015 and immediately launched Players First, a philosophy and holistic club soccer experience for parents and players which emphasizes the development of each individual to his or her full potential, and helps parents make better choices about where their children should play.
Payne’s history in the game is detailed on US Club Soccer, but an announcement of his retirement would be amiss to not remind our readers of Payne’s 30 years of high-profile career within U.S. Soccer and the MLS.
The former National Administrator of U.S. Soccer, Payne joined the governing body in 1989 and quickly became its first Deputy Executive Director and Director of Marketing. Two years later, he was named Executive Vice President and eventually President of Soccer USA Partners, the marketing and game promotions partner of U.S. Soccer.
“Under Kevin’s leadership, US Club Soccer saw – and continues to see – tremendous growth and a shift in the youth landscape to provide a more holistic experience,” said Cullina. “I look forward to working with him directly during the transition and building on the foundation he laid.”
Cullina has wide-ranging business and technical experience as a board member, league director, club executive director, club technical director, club director of coaching, A-licensed coach, grassroots coaching education instructor and referee.
More specifically, Cullina serves as Executive Director of Prince William Soccer Club (PWSI) and Virginia Development Academy, and as President of the Virginia Premier Soccer League. He was previously the technical director and a Director of Coaching at PWSI and other clubs.
Cullina recently concluded a two-year term as the At-Large Representative on U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors and initially joined US Club Soccer’s Board of Directors in 2015 prior to being appointed as Chairperson in 2018.
“I think Mike is the perfect choice to lead US Club Soccer going forward,” said Payne, a U.S. Soccer Werner Fricker Builder Award recipient and National Soccer Hall of Fame candidate. “He has many years of outstanding service to American youth soccer, and that experience combined with the dedication and expertise of our US Club Soccer team will ensure that the organization continues to grow and lead.”
“I am honored and thankful for the support of Kevin Payne and the Board of Directors for the opportunity to lead US Club Soccer and the tremendous people who serve our members,” said Cullina. “Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to work with some of the best leaders and most forward-thinking organizations in the game. This opportunity is due largely to those experiences, and the support of the staff and board at Prince William Soccer to grow as an individual over the past eight years. I am extremely grateful.”
Source: Press Release