President & GM, Chicago Fire
Chapter Board - Chicago
A mainstay among the North American soccer landscape for nearly 20 years, Chicago Fire Soccer Club President and General Manager Nelson Rodríguez is a deeply experienced leader on both the technical and business sides of the sport.
Upon arriving in Chicago in September of 2015, Rodríguez was charged with resetting the soccer foundation for a club and organization steeped in success throughout its history, but had fallen on difficult times in recent years. He has since overseen all sporting operations, including technical staff management, scouting, player personnel, player development systems and the Chicago Fire Soccer Academy, and in January, 2018 adopted an expanded role as club president.
Rodríguez conducted the hiring of Serbia's FIFA Under-20 World Cup winning coach Veljko Paunovic in November of 2015, and embarked on a project that has so far seen him reshape the roster with domestic and international players boasting lengthy track records of success with both their clubs and countries, respectively. That includes the signings of FIFA World Cup winner and ex-German National Team captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and Hungarian international forward Nemanja Nikolic, among others, as well as trading for United States national team midfielder Dax McCarty.
Rodríguez joined the Fire from the U.S Soccer Federation, where he helped guide the country’s budding soccer talent while serving as Managing Director of National Team Advisory Services. His U.S. Soccer post came after 14 years of experience working in various senior roles in Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing. His last position within MLS was as Executive Vice President of Competition, Technical and Game Operations, where he was responsible for all on-field competition.
During his tenure with MLS and SUM, Rodríguez held a variety of posts including serving as President of Chivas USA during the club’s transitional year. At MLS, Rodríguez initiated and supervised the League's technical committee, expanded the League's scouting and analytics capabilities and was also instrumental in the creation of the Professional Referees Organization (“PRO”). In addition, he supervised supporter relations, safety and security, team travel and the League’s growing sports medicine initiatives.
In previous roles within MLS, Rodríguez served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development where he worked closely with the Commissioner’s Office in areas such as business planning, new business development and strategic alliances and also served as Senior Vice President of SUM International.
Before joining MLS in 2000, Rodríguez served as Director of Soccer Operations for the MetroStars from 1998-1999.