Soccer Executive Recruiting & Consulting
Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and there are tens of thousands of soccer job opportunities in the U.S. Our soccer recruiting and consulting practice offers you extensive network within all elements of the U.S. soccer community – including Major League Soccer, USL, NASL, ASL, United Soccer Coaches, High School and Club.
Our soccer search and consulting practice is headed by Peter Arch, one of the sport’s most recognized leaders. Peter was part of the original British invasion of youth soccer in the U.S. during the 1980s. For nearly three decades, he has been actively involved in growing the sport in the U.S. and has helped create the largest youth soccer coaching company in North America.
In his role as a co-founder of Challenger Sports, Peter has recruited hundreds of soccer executives and Directors of Coaching, and over 10,000 coaches from Europe, North America, and South America.
Have a position to fill or need consulting?
Whether you’re looking for a soccer coach, GM, facility operator or other soccer job,
call us at 1.913.484.5106 and tell us what type of soccer job you are looking to fill.
We also offer a wide variety of consulting services tailored to the business of soccer.
Understanding Soccer in the U.S
If you’re looking for a soccer job, it’s important to understand the “alphabet soup” of international, national, regional, professional, amateur and youth organizations within the sport.
Here’s a summary of how the sport of soccer is organized and the various acronyms that every potential candidate needs to know. And if you’re looking for a soccer job, send us your confidential resume.
The world of international soccer is governed at the highest level by The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). FIFA’s membership now comprises of 211 national associations. Member countries must each also be members of one of the six regional confederations into which the soccer world is divided.
The United States belongs to FIFA’s regional confederation known commonly as CONCACAF – the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football. It includes governance of international soccer involving in North America, which includes Central America, the Caribbean region, the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The United States Soccer Federation commonly referred to as U.S. Soccer, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the official governing body of the sport of soccer in the United States. With headquarters in Chicago, the FIFA member governs U.S. amateur and professional soccer, including the men’s, women’s, youth, beach soccer, futsal, and Paralympic national teams. U.S. Soccer sanctions referees and soccer tournaments for most soccer leagues in the United States.
The United Soccer Coaches (formerly known as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America – NSCAA) is an organization of international soccer coaches founded in 1941. With more than 30,000 members, it is the largest soccer coaches’ organization in the world.
Men's Professional Leagues
Major League Soccer (MLS) is the highest-level men’s professional soccer league, sanctioned by US Soccer. There are currently 22 MLS teams – 19 in the U.S. and three in Canada. The league has stated that it will expand to 28 teams by 2020.
The MLS operates under a single-entity structure in which teams and player contracts are centrally owned by the league. Each team has an investor-operator that is also a shareholder in the league.
MLS franchises traditionally employ within the following fields:
- Administration/General Management
- Coaching, Communications
- Facility Operations
- Player Operations
- Sales & Marketing
The United Soccer League (USL) is a professional men’s soccer league in the United States and Canada. As of March 2017, there are 30 USL teams with 22 of the teams affiliated to MLS teams.
The North American Soccer League is a professional men’s soccer league with eight teams – six in the United States, one in Canada and one in Puerto Rico.
The NPSL is officially affiliated to the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) and qualifies for the U.S. Open Cup. The league is generally considered to be at the fourth tier of competition in the United States soccer pyramid, and roughly equal with the Premier Development League (PDL). There are currently 80 teams in the NASL.
The PDL is a development league sponsored by United Soccer Leagues in the United States and Canada. The league has 72 teams competing in four conferences, split into ten regional divisions.
The ASL is a professional league sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association. The league footprint is in the northeastern United States and there are currently nine teams.
Women's Professional Soccer
The NWSL is the highest-level professional women’s soccer league, sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation. There are currently 10 NWSL teams, all in the U.S.
The WPSL has 112 teams in 17 conferences in the U.S/Puerto Rico.
The UWS has 21 teams in three conferences throughout the United States.
* Both the WPSL and UWS have professional and amateur teams. A soccer organization has to choose to be professional and amateur teams because of NCAA regulations that prohibit collegiate players to play on pro teams.
Professional Indoor Leagues
The MSL is a professional indoor league with 17 teams in the U.S. and Mexico.
The PASL is an indoor soccer league with 31 amateur and semi-professional teams. PASL is the official developmental league of the Major Arena Soccer League.
The WISL is an American semi-professional indoor soccer league comprised of five teams in the Pacific Northwest.
U.S. Soccer has sanctioned a number of independently run organizations to run national soccer league programs within the U.S.
This is the largest youth affiliate member of U.S Soccer. U.S. Youth Soccer registers over 3 million boys and girls in 55 state youth soccer associations – one per state except for California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas, which each have two state associations.
AYSO is the second largest youth affiliate member of U.S. Soccer. AYSO claims membership of over 50,000 teams, with over 630,000 players.
U.S. Soccer Club is the most recent and currently third largest youth affiliate member of U.S. Soccer. It currently registers over 450,000 players each year.
SAY is a predominantly recreational youth organization with around 100,000 registered players.
USSSA became an affiliate member of U.S. Soccer in July 2001.
Youth Soccer Clubs traditionally employ:
- Executive Directors
- Directors of Coaching
- Age Group Coordinators
- Club Coaches
In the U.S., college soccer is not governed by FIFA/CONCACAF/U.S. SOCCER. Rather it is regulated by one of the sports regulatory body for major universities – the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Collegiate soccer programs typically hire:
- Full-Time Professional Coaches
- Assistant Coaches
- Specialist Training Staff
Click to see more about each association and division.
201 universities have Division 1 men’s soccer teams.
184 universities have Division 2 men’s soccer teams.
412 universities have NCAA Division 3 men’s soccer teams.
315 universities have Division 1 women’s soccer teams.
235 universities have Division 2 women’s soccer teams.
435 universities have NCAA Division 3 women’s soccer teams.
200 NAIA universities have men’s soccer teams.
200 NAIA universities have women’s soccer teams.
231 Junior Colleges have men’s soccer teams.
217 Junior Colleges have women’s soccer teams.
There are also 94 independent schools competing in the NCCAA.