Q&a With Braedin Thomson


Staff member
Seasoned Supporter
Mar 17, 2014
Tampa, Florida
As you remembered I asked everyone's input on some questions we can send over to Braedin Thomson. He has a unique insight into the league having spoken with club executives, our chairman and being mentored by Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz.
Braedin can be found on twitter at @MLSCEO and I thank him again for taking the time to answer our questions.
Here's what he had to say.

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Why is it, at such a young age, that you have chosen this path?

I am currently a junior in high school and do all of my work online. Therefore, it frees up much of my time so that I can study everything related to, and happening in MLS. My family and I have been season ticket holders to the Philadelphia Union since before they even broke ground on PPL Park. I quickly started to realize that soccer in the United States and the Canadian market has huge potential. Couple with that with my inherent love for the game and it was a no-brainer for me to naturally fall into an executiverolewithin MLS. Having said that, I know to become an executive requires a huge amount of focus and self-discipline. While most kids my age are out doing typical teenage activities (I.E. partying, hanging out with their friends) I am instead actively cultivating an environment that is inherent of a CEO. I have been networking for the past 2 years with executives and others who are associated within the league (sponsors, investors, USL PRO, etc).

Q. We all have that spark of passion. For me soccer was an escape from war when I was growing up in Bosnia. Were you born into it or did you pick it up at a later age?

I am half Scottish and half American. My father’s family immigrated to the United States from Scotland when my father was a young boy. Still to this day they retain their British citizenship. My grandfather played professionally across Europe. He came to the United States on a business trip but then broke his leg in a friendly match, which caused him to stay in the United States permanently. From the time I was a baby, my mother worked as a model on television and my dad a full time job. So quite often I spent the days at my grandparents. Soccer was the only thing on in their house, mostly the English Premier League. I grew up having soccer ingrained in me.

Q. You're obviously connected to Philadelphia Union. What are your ties with the club?

As I stated before, I am a season ticket holder and have been since their induction to MLS. I have become good friends with Nick Sakiewicz, CEO and operating of the Philadelphia Union. He is currently mentoring me. Dave Rowan, executive vice-president and chief revenue officer who I did a business deal with, along with other executives too.

Q. How has your relationship with The Union impacted your career going forward?

The Philadelphia Union means a great deal to me. Nick Sakiewicz is giving me the opportunity to observe the unique inner workings of how MLS runs. It varies greatly from other professional sports leagues in and outside of the United States.

Q. Outside of The Union, who has influenced and helped you the most?

Having met more than a few of the executives in this league and observing all of the idiosyncrasies associated with them, it has given me an appreciation for the aspects of this business the general public is not privy to. Some of these executives include Robb Heineman, CEO of Sporting Club, the parent organization of Sporting Kansas City. Mike Mossel, owner of the Dayton Dutch Lions. Phil Rawlins, founder and president of Orlando City Soccer Club, just to name a few. I have had the great privilege of meeting and networking with many executives.

Q. You've had the opportunity to meet and speak with some powerful and influential people. What are some of the most nerve wracking ones? Anyone have you sweating and nervous?

Don Garber was definitely the most nerve wracking because of his title as commissioner. The demands that go along with it give you very limited access to him.

Now that we have introduced you to our readers let's get your perspective on NYCFC and the MLS.

Q. I started following MLS a few years ago. I've always been a EPL fan. Over the last couple of years I've noticed a big growth and interest in the game. With New York, Orlando and Miami coming into the picture, MLS will only continue this growth. What would you tell someone that is reluctant to watch MLS?

If your only experience with soccer has been leagues with relegation (EPL, La Liga, Seria A, etc) you may have been put off by the fact that only the wealthiest teams tend to win. In Major League Soccer there is a certain parity that exists based upon a set salary cap.Therefore regardless of what team you support, they have a more balanced shot at winning. In Europe and other places around the world, you could go years supporting a losing team.

Q. NYCFC has been very quiet and we haven't heard any leaks yet regarding signings and future plans. Taking from your experience with Philadelphia Union, could you give us any insight on what might be going on within the NYCFC office?

Based on the delicate nature of negotiating salaries and contracts, teams try to keep who they want to sign very quiet. Having said that, I am sure NYCFC is actively pursing potential players, courting investors/sponsors and negotiating with politicians to get their own soccer specific stadium expedited.

Q. It's obvious to everyone that NYCFC will be backed by some deep pockets. What's the word around the league? Do you think the other cubs are feeling pressure to spend?

Yes I do believe that other clubs are feeling pressured to spend. Having said that, spending money does not always guarantee a great result. When a team like Toronto adds players such as Michael Bradley andJermain Defoe, I believe it adds extra pressure from a club’s fan base as to why their franchise isn’t able to spend more. But anytime a major investor brings their money to MLS it benefits the entire league because it brings attention. Thesoccer world sees that MLS is now a major player on the world stage.

Q. With that being said, if NYCFC does bring some global pull to the MLS, who would you like to see sign as their DP?

I would like to see the right kind of designated player signed. There has been DP’s in the past that have not worked out. This league needs a designated player who is well rounded. They need to be not only a great player, but also someone that can inspire greatness in others, be a team role model, and most importantly retain a sense of humility and gives good results.

Q. How many teams is MLS realistically looking to add? Relegation is the answer to the FIFA league cap but the cost of starting a franchise in the MLS simply can't afford relegation.

Commissioner Don Garber stated Major League Soccer is planning to reach 24 teams by 2020. Not having relegation makes it very appealing for potential investors knowing that the franchise will always have a chance to win the league.
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So he´s an "Executive lifestyler" more or less.. ?
Odd, I mean.. How many top executives did really throw away their skateboard and donned a suit as a spotty teen
It's clearly something he's passionate about so he chose to pursue it.
From the times I've spoke with him it's very obvious that he has a vast knowledge of the game and what it takes to make everything come together behind the scenes.