Averbuch, Yael Averbuch, NJ/NY Gotham FC
NJ/NY Gotham FC Interim General Manager Yael Averbuch (Photo courtesy of NJ/NY Gotham FC)

NJ/NY Gotham FC Welcomes Former Player Yael Averbuch West as Interim GM

NJ/NY Gotham FC has announced former NWSL player Yael Averbuch West as Interim General Manager. The announcement comes just weeks after former General Manager Alyse LaHue was let go from the club following an investigation regarding the league's anti-harassment policy.

"Yael was our club’s first ever college draft pick, and ownership is delighted to welcome her back to the family,” said Gotham FC Chair Tammy Murphy. “She’s dedicated her life to playing and growing this sport and has excelled at every level. We’re confident she’ll continue her success with us and help further our transformation into one of the premier women’s soccer clubs in the world.”

Yael Averbuch West is a New Jersey native, born in Montclair. In 2009, she was the club's first ever college draft pick back when the club was known as Sky Blue FC in the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league. During that first year, Averbuch West was integral in propelling the club to a league championship. She also assisted in the creation of the NWSL Players Association (NWSLPA) and was President of the association until she retired from playing in 2019. In 2020, she was named Executive Director and served as the Chairwoman of the NWSLPA’s Advisory Board. She is also the founder and CEO of the soccer training app Techne Futbol.

"I'm very excited about this role and look forward to supporting the continued success of Gotham FC on the field,” said Averbuch West. “This was my first professional club as a player and is my hometown club, so it's close to my heart. I can't wait to get to work."

Bernert, Lee Join Averbuch West

In addition to Averbuch West, the club welcomes former Utah Royals FC GM Stephanie Lee as Interim Assistant GM, and KB2 Sports co-founder Kristin Bernert as the club's Interim Head of Business Operations. Bernert has previously held a number of prominent roles in the sports industry over the years, including Executive Vice President of Operations at Madison Square Garden and SVP of Operations for the New York Liberty (WNBA).

“I’ve had the honor of leading New York’s most iconic sports franchises, and co-founded KB2 Sports with the mission of driving investment in women’s sports and female athletes to achieve equity in a very visible industry,” said Bernert.  “Gotham FC is the epitome of the opportunity to do that given its location and very committed ownership.  The NWSL is growing by leaps and bounds, and I’m looking forward to helping accelerate progress in the near term and laying the groundwork on strategy for a long-term head of business operations.”

These three new hires for NJ/NY Gotham FC mark an important step in rebuilding a front office that has faced some questions since the departure of Alyse LaHue. The team is currently in second place in league standings and is hoping to continue their positive trajectory as they move forward with the rebuilding process that has taken place over the last few years. The front office must also prepare for an expansion draft at the end of this year with two new clubs joining the NWSL, one in Los Angeles and the other in San Diego.

“We’re excited to bring in such accomplished individuals while ownership continues its search for permeant successors,” said Gotham FC Vice Chair Ed Nalbandian. “Yael and Kristin are well-known and respected leaders whose motivational style will be welcomed by fans. They’ll form a dynamic team, and we cannot wait to see what they can accomplish together.”

The next Gotham FC home match is on Saturday, August 7 at 7 p.m. ET against the North Carolina Courage at Red Bull Arena.  Visit gothamfc.com for tickets.

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