The NWSL announced today that it had a new commissioner. Jessica Berman will be taking over the role from interim CEO Marla Messing, and will begin her duties on April 20th, 2022.
As per the release, Berman’s duties will include overseeing all operations of the league with a “focus on supporting players on and off the pitch”, working with NWSL clubs to continue growing the league’s audience and collaborating with NWSL partners to create an “engaging and entertaining” fan experience.
The search committee tasked with finding a new commissioner included from the NWSL board of governors; Angela Hucles (Angel City FC), Mike Golub (Portland Thorns FC), Chris Long (Kansas City Current), Sophie Sauvage (OL Reign) and Mark Wilf (Orlando Pride). The search committee also comprised of players from the Players’ Commissioner Search Committee which included Crystal Dunn, Kaylie Collins, Jane Campbell, Bri Visalli, Nicole Barnhart, Emily Menges, Tori Huster, and Executive Director Meghann Burke. James and Company, an executive search firm, was also part of the process in finding and naming Berman as the new commissioner.
Speaking on behalf of the board of governors, Sauvage had this to say, “We’re thrilled to have Jessica serve as the next commissioner of the NWSL as we embark on our 10th season of play. This process was incredibly collaborative throughout and we want to thank the players for their involvement. Jessica’s extensive professional background, her commitment to elevating diverse voices in the sports industry, and her vision for the future of our league, made her the right fit for this incredibly important position.”
Jessica Berman also released a statement about her appointment, stating that she was “honored to be the next commissioner of the NWSL and grateful to the owners for their confidence in me.”
“Working on behalf of, and in partnership with, our players is my number one priority. Having been involved in professional sports for many years, I know how critically important a genuine partnership with players is for us all to be successful and continue to grow,” Berman continued. “The successful conclusion of the league’s first-ever CBA with our players is the perfect foundation from which to build that partnership, and I am grateful for Marla Messing’s leadership in getting that done.”
Berman’s background includes working with the National Hockey League, the National Lacrosse League and the Proskauer Rose LLP in the labor and employment sector.